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Boosting our retail sector

Monday 19 September 2022

Our retail centres are an important part of the fabric of our city, giving our community access to the goods and services they need, providing jobs, attracting investment and tourism, and encouraging economic growth.

The retail sector is one of our largest employers, supporting over 3,000 jobs and providing economic uplift of $257m annually.

In recent years Albury has experienced significant population growth, a number of developments have consumed retail floorspace ahead of our projections, and there have been changes in consumer behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking all this into consideration, AlburyCity has released its draft Retail Action Plan, developed in consultation with urban design specialists, the retail sector, property owners and the wider community.

The plan emphasises the importance of ensuring that Albury remains a key service centre for Southern New South Wales and North-Eastern Victoria.

A focus is placed on ensuring that the Albury CBD undergoes a continuing process of investment to retain its leading position in the region, recognising the importance of Lavington and Thurgoona as complementary retail offerings, and investigating future options for additional Large Format Retailing similar to the Homemaker Centre in East Albury.

The key objectives of the plan include increased walkability which is key to retail success and creating a vibrant city centre, improving capacity to take advantage of gaps and opportunities in the market, removing barriers to ensure smooth operations for business owners and retail investors, and increased engagement with the industry through partnerships and education.

Some of the initiatives highlighted in the draft Retail Action Plan include creating 'green spaces' with options for retail pop-ups, an 'eat street' concept in Volt Lane, moving to parallel parking in the Albury CBD to improve pedestrian comfort and encourage outdoor dining, and undertaking an urban development study to cater for growth in the Thurgoona area.

Businesses could benefit from initiatives such as co-funded shopfront improvements, relaxing parking contributions for food and beverage operators, simplifying application processes and additional training opportunities.

Mayor Kylie King encouraged both consumers and business owners to have their say on the plan.

"The draft Plan recognises that consumer behaviours are changing, and our retail centres need to evolve as our city grows," Mayor King said.

"We want to create vibrant city centres for our community to enjoy while they're out and about, give people easy access to the goods and services they need, and support our retail sector to grow and take advantage of new opportunities."

To have your say on the draft Retail Acton Plan, visit the AlburyCity website.

Submissions close 5pm Tuesday 11 October 2022.