One step ahead on upgrade

THE Federal Government’s recent approval of $10.5 million to start work on the $164-million Brighton Bypass this April has been a welcome announcement for the community.  However, the Brighton Council had already begun the process of planning to revitalise the town centre long before the official announcement was made.

Brighton Council has commissioned Tasmanian environmental planning and landscape architecture firm Inspiring Place Pty Ltd to look at ways of improving the general appearance, accessibility, safety and functionality of the Brighton town centre along the Midlands Highway between Elderslie Road in the south and Pontville to the north.

Brighton’s Mayor Tony Foster said Council believed it was important to ensure that planning was well in place for the changes that the bypass would effect to the municipality.

“As a Council we recognised that we needed to be fully prepared for the changed dynamic and that is why we commissioned Inspiring Place to help our community moving forward,” Cr Foster said.

Inspiring Place principal, John Hepper, said the purpose of the plan was to consider how the streetscape could be enhanced as a place for the local community to work, visit and enjoy in advance of the by-pass reducing passing traffic.

“The plan will consider ideas for improving the streetscape through such things as adding shade trees and amenity plantings, constructing better footpaths and cycleways, improved lighting, adding new street furniture (eg seating, bins, art), efficient car parking arrangements, signage, location of community facilities, safe crossing points, improving open space and safe links between the business and residential areas,” Mr Hepper said.

“Our role is not to present our vision for the township, but to facilitate community consultation and develop an agreed vision for the future look and feel of the main street. One that will build community pride and encourage the involvement of local businesses and residents in the future development of their town and its overall appearance.

“It is also timely given the continuing population growth of the town, its role as a service centre in the wider Brighton area and the proposed development of the regional transport hub between Brighton and Bridgewater,” Mr Hepper said.

During the coming weeks Inspiring Place’s consultants will be talking with all local businesses and community facilities fronting onto the Midlands Highway within the town centre. A community forum will be held in mid March to allow all residents to have their say about the potential for improving the town’s streetscape.

“Residents will be invited to the forum via notices through their letter-box, a notice in the local school newsletter and posters that will be displayed in the town promoting attendance and participation at the forum.

“Following the community forum, the streetscape plan will be prepared and then placed on exhibition for review and comment by the whole of the community.  It is expected that the plan will be completed by the end of May.”

Inspiring Place has made initial site visits and background research has already commenced to help identify some of the key issues and to consider ideas for enhancing the town’s streetscape.

Having completed more than 250 community projects in tourism, recreation, environmental planning and landscape architecture Inspiring Place brings a significant amount of expertise and a strong sense of environmental sustainability to the creation of community and commercial facilities and outdoor space.

A community forum to discuss the Brighton Town Plan and give the community the opportunity to have their say will be held at the Brighton Primary School on Monday,  March 16 from 7-9pm.