BUSINESS owners right across the community have been in a long standing discussion on what should be done with the Maude Street Mall and with Greater Shepparton City Council recently announcing they will be seeking community consultation on outcomes for the mall, the future of Shepparton’s iconic CBD is once again in the limelight.
Business owners within and surrounding the mall as well as members of the community and Council, all have their own ideas about what could be done to brighten up the mall and make it more attractive for shoppers, with perhaps the more prominent and widely known suggestion being to see the return of a road through the mall.
Some proposals suggest carparks similar to that built on the eastern Fraser Street entrance to the mall be installed at other entry points. Some proposals also suggest to open the mall to slow moving, one way traffic on one side and parking on the other, with a continued traffic free area for families between High and Fraser Streets. Free parking around the CBD to attract more shoppers to the mall and leaving the structure as is, has also been suggested by some of the community and ideas are floating around that the 7,446 sq metre area be enclosed and transformed into an undercover shopping complex.
Proprietor of Shepparton Camera House, Ian Bugg said, “All I’m asking the Council on the mall disaster is to look at other regional centres such as South Port and Townsville. These places have had malls and all have had troubles with stores closing and unwanted groups gathering.
“After opening their malls back up to traffic and parking, there was a 30 percent minimum improvement in retail turnover in that area.
“Council needs to look at the facts and make their decision based on that. We don’t need public opinion we need an observation of facts,” Ian said.
Jesse’s Proprietor, Neil James said, “Putting aside the negativity surrounding the mall, it is still the most attractive shopping precinct in Shepparton.
“For me, the issue is we need more work done to make Shepparton’s CBD more attractive and Council should not be looking at spending money on putting a road back through the mall.
“One of my favourite malls is Rundle Mall in Adelaide. It has got a strong group of shops, nice eateries and there is always something interesting going on there, but most importantly it is traffic free,” Neil said.
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Cr Jenny Houlihan said, “The Maude Street Mall and indeed all of Shepparton’s CBD, is something that has been identified as a priority in our community consultation over the proposed Council Plan, which is currently in development.
“There are many things to consider in revitalising our CBD and I look forward to the continuing development of the Council Plan on this issue and others,” Cr Houlihan said.