An artist’s impression of Gorge Road Streetscape looking towards Plenty Road at South Morang. ​

RESIDENTS are invited to share their thoughts on a draft plan designed to upgrade the dated Gorge Road shopping precinct at South Morang into a retail destination.

After public consultation earlier this year, City of Whittlesea released a draft concept plan that outlines a range of ideas to improve road safety and the overall shopping experience.

The plan is to change on-street parking on Gorge Road from angled to parallel, which will reduce illegal right-hand turns into parking bays and add more outdoor space for traders to utilise.

While the plan would minimise the number of car parks on Gorge Road from 22 to 10, the change sees an increase of car spaces at the rear of the shops to compensate.

By combining the Reid Street Park with the existing gravel and kindergarten car parks at the rear of the shops, the precincts number of public car spaces will increase from 72 to 84.

The draft advises of measures to upgrade the visual appeal of the precinct, including lining the streetscape with canopy trees in garden beds and new street furniture.

It also suggests widening the pedestrian footpath at the front of the shops to allow footpath trading and for shoppers to socialise.

City of Whittlesea chair administrator Lydia Wilson said through the community feedback, there was major indications that traffic, car parking and safety were issues, while traders suggested to find the streetscape improved for customer appeal.

“This precinct is a vital social and economic hub and it is important that we maximise the safety and convenience of shopping here,” she said.

“The changes proposed in the draft concept plan aim to create a vibrant shopping precinct that meets the needs of traders as well as their customers.”

Feedback on the draft plan can be submitted at until December 18.

Council’s project team will hold in-person community consultation sessions at the shops on November 29 from 8am to 10.30am; December 3 from 9am to 11am; and December 16 from 4pm to 7pm.