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What are large format retail premises

Large format retail premises are mostly free–standing buildings or complexes with a single large building footprint and associated infrastructure.

They are often single–level or low–rise buildings and they may include large at–grade car parking lots or car parking structures. They can be shopping centres, supermarkets, restricted retail premises or department stores.

Large format retail premises differ from other large buildings with regard to visitor patterns, goods delivery requirements, and goods display practices. They are often located in high visibility places, for example at major road intersections or adjacent to highways that are highly accessible by car.

Why is it important?

Large format retail premises are a part of modern living and contribute to the mix of uses in activity centres. When well integrated physically and functionally into their surrounding area, they draw many customers, enhance the viability of nearby businesses, increase street activity and provide diversity and choice for customers.

To achieve this integration they require an adequate level of private vehicle, public transport and pedestrian accessibility, safety and amenity.

5.3.1: support an active frontage interface of large format retail premises with the street

The level of active frontage depends on the presence of a pedestrian entry point as well as a level of clear window area. The appropriate level of active frontage will be influenced by the existing or preferred future character of the street.

  1. Locate main pedestrian entrances and entry paths in prominent locations where they can be seen from the street.
  2. Where a building is located on the front lotline, provide a level of clear window that allows opportunities for informal surveillance of the street from within the building.

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    Tip: the street frontage of a retail building that has areas of clear window provides opportunities for informal surveillance of the public realm. As well, it allows the public to see the activity within and to see displayed goods.

  3. Where a large format retail premises requires a solid external wall or a setback adjacent to the street frontage, maintain a visual connection and a walkable distance from the building entry to the street.

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    Tip: if a wall is set back from the street, allow the future opportunity for smaller scale retail or community activities along the frontage.

5.3.2: support safe and direct pedestrian and cyclist access to large format retail premises

  1. Provide convenient and direct pedestrian and cyclist access from a large format retail premises to public transport stops and to the surrounding area.
  2. Locate main pedestrian entrances on direct pedestrian paths from the surrounding area.

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  3. Locate access points for loading bays and waste collection, and site storage areas away from pedestrian priority streets, paths and residential areas.
  4. Where a large format retail premises is in an activity centre, locate the main customer car parking facility away from the main street frontage.

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    Tip: large car parking lots located between the street and a large format retail premises can detract from the amenity of the street and create a barrier to the surrounding area. Refer to 2.8 Car parking lots and 5.4 Car parking structures.

5.3.3: integrate the built form of large format retail premises into activity areas and their surrounding neighbourhoods

  1. Arrange the building form and the facade detail of large format retail premises to respond to the local context and enhance the public realm.
  2. Where the large format retail premises is adjacent to a lower scale neighbourhood, provide a transition in scale to the surrounding streets and residential areas.

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    Tip: stepping the building down at the edges can mediate differences in scale between a taller building and its neighbours.

  3. Use landscape treatments to reduce the visual impact of blank walls and large areas of car parking.

    Tipo: avoid landscaping that blocks views into and out of a building, or across the site, or that provides a concealment opportunity.

5.3.4: support the safety and amenity of the area around large–format retail premises

  1. Maintain windows in the large format retail premises clear of visual obstructions to the outside to enable informal surveillance of the public realm.
  2. Manage landscaping to maintain sightlines into and out of a large format retail premises, and across the site.

    Tip: Overgrown landscaping can block sightlines and provide concealment opportunities.

Page last updated: 13/06/23