The draft DCP and a background document on the approach can be viewed below or downloaded in PDF format from here.


Part 1: Context

Part 2: Draft development control plan 



The National Capital Plan (the Plan) came into effect on 21 January 1990. Canberra Avenue is a Main Avenue as defined by the Plan. The provisions of this Development Control Plan (DCP) apply to the Manuka Circle precinct as described by Figure 1. This precinct includes areas within the Designated Areas (detailed planning responsibility of the NCA) and areas subject to Special Requirements (detailed planning responsibility of the Territory Planning Authority).

Canberra Avenue road reserve (Designated Areas)

The area includes the Canberra Avenue Road Reserve which is within the Designated Areas of the Plan and therefore is subject to the provisions on the National Capital Plan and not the Territory Plan. Works Approval from the NCA is required for all ‘works’ as defined by the Australian Capital Territory Planning and Land Management Act 1988 (Cwth).

Land adjacent to Canberra Avenue (Subject to Special Requirements)

Land adjacent to the Canberra Avenue road reserve in the Manuka Circle precinct is not within the Designated areas, but subject to Special Requirements for Main Avenues, under part 4.23 of the Plan. These Special Requirements state:

Development, except in relation to Northbourne Avenue, is to conform to Development Control Plans (agreed by the Authority) which seek to secure the integrity of the Main Avenues as approaches to the Parliamentary Zone and ensure that the setting, buildings and purposes of development enhance that function.

In the absence of a provision in a DCP to the contrary, all development on land adjacent to the Main Avenue should be in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Territory Plan. Where an inconsistency arises between the Territory Plan and the National Capital Plan, the National Capital Plan prevails.

This Draft DCP has been prepared in accordance with the Plan.

Part 1: Context

1 Background

Canberra Avenue between Hume Circle and State Circle is defined as a Main Avenue in the National Capital Plan. Land fronting the Main Avenues as described by the Plan are subject to Special Requirements and consequently require a DCP approved by the NCA to be administered by the Territory Planning Authority.

2 Explanatory statement

2.1. Purpose of Draft Development Control Plan

This Draft DCP incorporates consolidated planning and urban design provisions for Blocks 7 and 12 Section 26, Block 1 Section 25 in Forrest, Block 1 Section 39 Griffith and Sections 15, 40, and 99 Griffith (as described by Figure 1 of the Draft DCP). Planning and urban design provisions included in this draft DCP relate to building height, setbacks and design, landscape character, access and parking. Development applications made to the Territory Planning Authority shall be consistent with these provisions. The draft DCP incorporates design guidelines and direction to ensure future design proposals within the Canberra Avenue road reserve to reinforce the NCA’s vision for the entire avenue. These provisions should be considered when submitting proposals to the NCA for Works Approval.

2.2. Effect of Draft Development Control Plan

The Draft DCP includes the following provisions:

      • general planning and urban design objectives for Canberra Avenue as a Main Avenue.
      •  requirements for development application to be submitted to the Territory planning authority which is in regard to:
        • building height and architectural quality in built form. access to the development and location of parking.
        • providing for an enhanced landscape character on along the Canberra Avenue frontage. 
        • providing for enhance urban design outcomes in regard to pedestrian movement, lighting and materials. If approved, the DCP amend planning and urban design provisions for the site, including building height, setbacks and design, landscape character, access and parking by replacing site specific DCPs currently in place for the precinct.

The current approved DCPs are:

      • 13/01 for Manuka Oval
      • DCP 10/08 for St Christopher’s and surrounds
      • DCP 10/04 for Section 96 Griffith.

2.3. Changes to Existing DCPs and Policy

The draft DCP incorporates existing conditions included in the current site specific DCPs for the subject sites. However, the draft DCP proposes to amend some provisions currently applying to sites within the precinct such as:

      • Introduction of detailed Planning and Urban Design objectives.
      • Increased building heights at key points in the precinct.
      • Introduction of a ‘certification’ stage for redevelopment proposals to be considered by the NCA board.
      • Including areas within the Manuka Circle precinct of the Canberra Avenue corridor not currently in areas subject to a DCP.

These areas included in this DCP, not currently subject to a DCP are:

      • Parts of Section 15 Griffith, such as the former Canberra Services Club site.
      • Section 40 Griffith including Endeavor House and the Manuka service station.

This Draft DCP does not include provisions related to the following:

      • Detailed conservation requirements for places listed on the ACT Heritage List
      • Details of specific land use permitted on sites subject to the DCP These matters are appropriately controlled by the relevant ACT Government Directorates and varying their application through a Commonwealth planning instrument, such as a DCP, would unnecessarily duplicate processes.

3 Outline of the process

STEP 1 Development intention expressed

STEP 2 Preparation of a Draft DCP. NCA considers the views and issues expressed by key stakeholders and prepares the Draft DCP for public consultation

STEP 3 Public consultation on a Draft DCP <- We are Here

STEP 4 Consideration by Authority board

STEP 5 Decision

4 Public consultation process

The NCA invites written comments on the draft DCP from community and stakeholders by close of business on 21 April 2017. All responses received will be considered before a decision on the draft DCP is made by the NCA.

Written comments can be made by the following methods:

      • Emailing your submission to: (to the Attention of the Chief Planner)
      • Writing to:
        Mr Andrew Smith
        Chief Planner
        National Capital Authority
        GPO Box 373 CANBERRA ACT 2601
      • Delivering your submission by hand to:
        National Capital Authority
        Treasury Building, Ground Floor
        King Edward Terrace PARKES ACT 2600
        Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday

Copies of the draft DCP are available for download here OR National Capital Authority Treasury Building, Ground Floor, King Edward Terrace PARKES ACT 2600 Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday

A public information session will be held on 15 March 2017, between 12.00pm and 1.30pm at NCA Offices. Further information is available from the NCA on (02) 6271 2888 or email

Permission to disclose name and address

The NCA seeks an open and transparent consultation process. Following public consultation on the DCP, the NCA will prepare a Consultation Report which will be published on the NCA website. This report will include a summary of each submission. The NCA intends to publish the name and suburb of each person making the submission, but will not publish contact details (such as physical address, email or phone number). If you have a concern about having your name published on the internet or if you wish to make a confidential submission, you must make this clear when submitting your comments. Say why you want your submission to be kept confidential. The NCA will consider requests for confidentiality, but cannot make promises in advance. If you have concerns about confidentiality, please contact the NCA to discuss before making a submission.  

Part 2: Draft development control plan


Canberra Avenue is a Main Avenue as defined in the National Capital Plan (the Plan).

Designated Areas (Canberra Avenue Road Reserve)

The Plan identifies the road reservations of the Main Avenues as Designated Areas. The National Capital Authority (NCA) is responsible for developing detailed conditions for design and development in these areas. In addition, the NCA is responsible for granting Works Approval within the road reserve. Specifically, the Plan states: Main Avenues are the entrance points to the Central National Area (CNA) and are primary organising elements of the National Capital. The Plan also outlines the detailed conditions for design and development for the Main Avenues, these state: Road pavements, medians, footpaths and verges will be developed to consistently high standards. Signs will generally comprise traffic, directional and visitor information signs, and unnecessary repetition will be avoided. Commercial roadside signs, are not permitted in road reservations, except on bus shelters. Non-commercial signs may be permitted. The Main Avenues … will be developed and maintained as high quality landscaped corridors. In built-up areas, the established design theme of irrigated grass verges and medians and formal tree plantings will be maintained. In areas of intensive pedestrian use, high quality paving is to be used.

Areas subject to Special Requirements (Land Adjacent to Canberra Avenue)

The particular blocks or land parcels adjacent to Canberra Avenue are Territory land outside the Designated Area of the Plan. Special Requirements for Main Avenues, under Part 4.23 of the Plan, apply and state:

Development, except in relation to Northbourne Avenue, is to conform to Development Control Plans (agreed by the Authority) which seek to secure the integrity of the Main Avenues as approaches to the Parliamentary Zone and ensure that the setting, buildings and purposes of development enhance that function.

The Territory Planning Authority is responsible for assessing development applications relating to these areas. In doing so the Territory Planning Authority is required to ensure any proposal is not inconsistent with this DCP or the Plan.


This DCP applies to areas identified as part of the Manuka Circle precinct of the Canberra Avenue corridor as described in Figure 1 and 2.

Redevelopment proposals must seek Authority board certification that development is consistent with the Planning and Urban Design Objectives of this DCP and are of a quality befitting this important Main Avenue.

In relation to those sites subject to Special Requirements, these provisions and requirements are additional to the rules and criteria of the Territory Plan. In the absence of a provision in the Plan or the DCP to the contrary, all development should accord with the relevant rules and criteria of the Territory Plan. Where an inconsistency arises between the Territory Plan and the National Capital Plan, the National Capital Plan and any approved instrument under the National Capital Plan prevails. Should an inconsistency arise in a method of quantitative measure (i.e measuring building height as storeys or metres from ground level), the method and measure defined in this DCP shall apply in place of the method outlined in the Territory Plan. Therefore, this DCP takes precedence before those codes of the Territory Plan (precinct, development and general codes). However, this DCP should be read in conjunction with the applicable codes of the Territory Plan. Additionally, the requirements of ACT Legislation still apply and development proposals should be consistent with both this DCP and the applicable legislation.


This DCP contains provisions and requirements for development of land subject to Special Requirements under the Plan. In conjunction with other relevant codes it will be used by the Territory Planning Authority to assess development applications and offer guidance to intending applicants in designing development proposals and preparing development applications.

Figure 1 - Manuka Circle Precinct in the context of Canberra Avenue (Main Avenue)

Figure 2 -Manuka Circle Precinct extent and subareas within the precinct


This DCP contains general provisions and location specific provisions regarding development of the Manuka Circle precinct (as defined by Figure 1 and 2). If there is any inconsistency in intent or effect of these provisions the location specific provisions should be taken to have precedence.


Defined terms and terms referenced in other legislation are shown in italics.

Further detailed plans and policies

DCPs may require the development of more detailed policies and actions in the form of concept plans, master plans or management plans. Development applications submitted to the Territory Planning Authority and Works Approval applications submitted to the NCA should be assessed against these documents to ensure the intent of this DCP is upheld. The NCA will work with the relevant authorities to develop these more detailed plans. 

Planning and urban design objectives

The character of both private development and public realm design contributes to the quality and experience of Canberra Avenue as a Main Avenue of the National Capital. In this respect, all proposals must respond to the following general objectives for Main Avenues.

Built Form

To maintain Canberra Avenue as a setting for prestigious buildings the built form and architectural design of development adjacent to Canberra Avenue shall:

      • display a consistency and integrity in height and form with high quality design elements, materials and finishes.
      • provide for a character of significance and reinforce an appropriate urban scale relationship to the public realm.
      • ensure all new buildings have their main frontage to Canberra Avenue, with clearly articulated pedestrian entries.
      • ensure that a high level of amenity is provided in site layout and urban design and that noise impacts are mitigated through appropriate building design, materials and construction.

Landscape Structure

In order to enhance the character of Canberra Avenue as one of the Griffins’ Main Avenues and as one of the main approaches to Parliament House and the Parliamentary Zone, the landscape structure of the road reserve and private landscape areas shall:

      • provide a consistency and regularity in landscape structure with high quality established trees.
      • be developed and maintained as high quality landscaped corridors.
      • continue the established design theme of irrigated grass verges and medians and formal tree plantings.
      • utlilise high quality paving in areas of intensive pedestrian use.
      • select tree species for regularity in landscape character along extended parts of the Avenue.

Traffic and Movement

Traffic and movement systems shall be managed to ensure the continued effective function of the Main Avenues. This includes but is not limited to:

      • reducing the barriers created by major roads to make it easier for people to access the public spaces of the city, particularly in the CNA.
      • demonstrate the road user hierarchy by enhancing movement around the city for a diversity of pedestrian, cycle, public transport and private transport modes.
      • support efficient and sustainable pedestrian, bicycle and public transport systems that reduce car dependency.
      • provide streets that foster a connected and pedestrian-friendly environment.

Urban Design

Broadly, the urban design objectives for Canberra Avenue are linked the three previous key themes. In addition to the objectives already defined development should seek to:

      • create identifiable places at key points along the Main Avenue.
      • ensure the relationship and interface between private development and the public realm fosters human scale interaction
      • ensure that existing identified heritage elements of the Avenue are conserved and celebrated as key contributors to the character of the Avenue.

General provisions

These provisions apply to the entire Manuka Circle precinct as defined by Figure 1 and 2.

Key Theme 1: Built Form

Rule 1.1: Building Height

The maximum building height permitted for sites, including any rooftop plant, are as follows:

      • Area A: RL594 (22 metres from Canberra Avenue kerb).
      • Area B: RL596 (22 metres from Canberra Avenue kerb) with reduced building height of RL583 to parts of the Franklin Street frontage.
      • Area C: RL592 (18 metres from Canberra Avenue kerb).
      • Area D: RL591 (18 metres from Canberra Avenue kerb).

Rule 1.2: Building Design and siting

Buildings and other permanent structures must be designed to a high architectural design standard and must ensure an overall consistency in form, massing and detail. Buildings must be sited parallel to Canberra Avenue unless, in the opinion of the NCA, there is no other suitable alternative.

Rule 1.3: Rooftop Plant

Rooftop plant and roof mounted equipment must be totally concealed from view from Canberra Avenue and Parliament House. Rooftop plant, and roof mounted equipment, if required, must be enclosed and the enclosures are to be carefully integrated with the roof form and design of the building.

Rule 1.4: Roofscape design

Screening, enclosures or roof form used to ensure no visibility of rooftop plant must present to Canberra Avenue as an integral part of the building design with careful consideration given to the roof form and the roofscape of buildings as viewed from the Avenue.

Rule 1.5: Building setback from Canberra Avenue

The minimum building setback to Canberra Avenue are as follows:

      • Area A, C and D: Ten metres
      • Area B: Zero metres.

Rule 1.6: Building articulation zone and articulation restriction zone

Minor encroachments of building elements into the building setback from Canberra Avenue (as defined by Rule 1.5) may be permitted within the building articulation zone as described in Figures 4 and 5. Articulation elements shall not occupy more than 25 per cent of this defined articulation zone. Articulation elements permitted are verandas, courtyard walls, porches, awnings, sunscreen and shade devices, pergolas, bay windows, dwelling entries, and roof elements. 100% residential proposals may include balconies as an articulation element provided they are designed in a manner that is unobtrusive, with minimal visual impact and are included in the calculation of articulation elements. Definition: Building articulation zone The articulation zone is a 2.5 metre wide area of the building setback to Canberra Avenue immediately adjacent to the developable area. The articulation zone shall commence no lower than six metres above the adjacent kerb level of Canberra Avenue as described by Figures 3 and 4.  

Rule 1.7: Restrictions on unarticulated building facades

Buildings shall have a maximum unarticulated length of 15 metres. Articulation may be provided by:

      • changes in wall planes of a minimum one metre in depth and no less than four metres in length and/or
      • inclusion of balconies and/or
      • horizontally stepping facades by at least one metre.

Rule 1.8: Building Materials and Colours

The facades and roofs of buildings are to be constructed of high quality, durable materials. Highly reflective external materials are not permitted. Building materials, construction and finishes are to be responsive to microclimate issues.

Rule 1.9: Mechanical Plant, electrical substations, storage and service areas

All mechanical plant and equipment (including air conditioning units) is to be contained within buildings or located within service enclosures. Such elements, in addition to electrical substation, storage and service areas (including storage sheds), are to be carefully sited and must not be visible from Canberra Avenue, Manuka Circle or Franklin Street. All such plant and equipment shall be totally concealed from view from Canberra Avenue and Parliament House.

Figure 3 - Building setback to Canberra Avenue and articulation zone

Figure 4 - Articulation restriction zone  

Key Theme 2: Landscape Structure

Rule 2.1: Landscape Plan

A Landscape Plan must accompany any development proposal, which achieves the requirements of this DCP and reflects the intent illustrated on Figure 6. The Landscape Plan will need to identify the following:

      • Mature trees identified in the tree assessment required at Rule 2.3. Where they are proposed for removal, the Landscape Plan should include provision for replacement with new advanced stock.
      • Well landscaped setbacks in accordance with Rule 1.5.
      • Verge works in accordance with Rule 2.5 and 4.2.

Rule 2.2: Landscape Design

A high standard of landscape design and verge treatment is required for all road frontages. Landscaping should include deep rooted trees wherever possible particularly in the building setback to Canberra Avenue and deep soil zones.

Rule 2.3 Tree Assessments

An assessment of the adjacent trees within the Canberra Avenue road reserve is mandatory for all redevelopment proposals. For minor development applications where development involves tree removal or work is proposed in the vicinity of trees, a tree assessment must accompany the development application.

Rule 2.4 Offsite Landscape works

Where there are gaps in the Canberra Avenue road reserve planting or trees that are assessed in accordance with rule 2.3 as requiring replacement, new specimens consistent must be planted. In areas of High Pedestrian Use, high quality paving shall be installed provided trees are planted in accordance with the Land Custodian’s requirements. Elsewhere, irrigated lawn is to be installed in the verge and maintained by the lessee.

Rule 2.5 Courtyard Walls

Blank walls to public streets are not permitted. Fences, courtyard or retaining walls are permitted within the building setback to Canberra Avenue providing they are appropriately articulated and integrated with soft landscape design treatments and are consistent with the following requirements:

      • Walls and fences do not exceed 30 per cent of the length of the Canberra Avenue frontage for a particular block.
      • Walls or fences are setback a minimum of three metres from the block boundary.
      • Walls do not exceed a maximum of is 1.5 metres in height.
      • The use of hedges is used in lieu of (or combined with) fences and walls when forward of the building line.
      • Courtyard walls and fences shall be comprised of high quality materials in colours and finishes consistent with the principle building. Fences forward of the building line shall be generally transparent in character.

Figure 5 - Landscape intent of building setback to Canberra Avenue

Key Theme 3 : Traffic and Movement

Rule 3.1 Vehicular Access

Vehicular access is generally not permitted from Canberra Avenue. Individual access points from the Avenue to developments will be determined by the relevant authorities.

Rule 3.2 Pick-up and Set down areas

Pick up and set down areas on Canberra Avenue are only permitted adjacent to Section 96 Griffith.

Rule 3.2 Parking in Canberra Avenue setback

Surface or on-grade car parking must not be located within the building setback to Canberra Avenue.

Rule 3.3 Visual impact of parking

The visual impact of all surface car parking must be minimised through adequate screening and landscape treatment that appropriately considers view lines and safety.

Rule 3.4 Basement parking

Encroachment of basement parking into the building setback to Canberra Avenue may be considered where it would not detract from the quality of the landscape treatment and would not affect the root zone of existing trees in the road reserve. At least six metres must be maintained along the Canberra Avenue frontage for deep rooted planting.

Key Theme 4: Urban Design

Rule 4.1 Pedestrian address

The primary pedestrian address frontage for development is to be oriented to Canberra Avenue to reinforce the prestige and visual interest of the avenue. Building frontages must be articulated incorporating modulated form, tactility, silhouette and respond to human scale. Building entries should be appropriate to the scale and character of the avenue.

Rule 4.2 Areas of intensive pedestrian use

Areas of intensive pedestrian use are to be paved using a high quality durable paver that provides a unique character to the Manuka precinct.

Rule 4.3 Pedestrian Access to buildings

Multiple entries (including communal building entries and individual ground floor entries) should be provided to activate the street edge on all new developments. Where street frontage is limited and multiple buildings are located internal to the site, a primary street address should be provided with clear sight lines and pathways to secondary building entries.

Rule 4.4 Lighting

All outdoor lighting, including security and car park lighting shall be designed and sited to minimise light pollution. Outdoor lighting shall use full cut-off light fittings. Any up-lighting of buildings should be carefully designed to keep night time overspill and glare to a minimum. A full cut-off light fitting allows no light to be directed upward. No light dispersion or direct glare is allowed to shine at or above a 90 degree, horizontal plane from the base of the fixture. The lens/diffuser should not project beyond housing and minimal light should be emitted above 80 degrees as per Figure 9.

Figure 6 - Full Cut Off Light Fixture

Site specific provisions

These provisions apply to the specific areas described as defined by Figure 2.

SITE A: Manuka Oval (Sections 15 and 99 Griffith)

Rule A.1 Broadcast lighting

height The height of broadcast light poles, including the lighting frame and any associated equipment erected for broadcast quality lighting, must not exceed RL617.

Rule A.2 Broadcast lighting setback

Broadcast lighting must not be located within the building setback to Canberra Avenue.

Rule A.3 Broadcast lighting operation

Broadcast lighting towers and frames shall be designed and sited to minimise light pollution, and shall be of a high quality design in detail and execution. All lighting shall accord with both the following:

      • Australian Standard 4842-1997 ‘control of the obtrusive effects of outdoor lighting’
      • Civil Aviation Regulations Manual of Operation Standards 139, Section 9.21 ‘Lighting in the vicinity of aerodromes’. 

Rule A.4 Tree Management and Replacement Master Plan

A Tree Management and Replacement Master Plan for the subject site are to be prepared in consultation with and approved by the NCA and relevant ACT Government Agencies. Further Detailed Plan Required: Tree Management and Replacement Master Plan for Manuka Oval and surrounds The core objectives of the Tree Management and Replacement Master Plan are:

      • Conserve and retain the character of the landscape setting for the Oval, Canberra Avenue and its surrounds.
      • Ensure that the Canberra Avenue frontage is landscaped with consistent treatments and presents as a unified landscape.
      • Retain mature trees to the maximum extent practicable whilst allowing for plantings to provide for progressive replacement of these older trees.

Rule A.5 Signage and Signage Master Plan

All signage is to be of a high design quality, and be consistent in design and detail. Careful consideration is to be given to the integration of signs with landscape and building design to ensure they do not detract from the Canberra Avenue frontage. Roof signs and large freestanding signs visible from Canberra Avenue not specifically noted in the Signage Master Plan will not be permitted. Permanent signage will not be permitted in the Canberra Avenue road reserve. Further Detailed Plan Required: Signage Master Plan for Manuka Oval All signage located on the site is to be in accordance with a Signage Master Plan approved by the relevant ACT Government land custodian in consultation with the NCA. The Signage Master Plan must be in accordance with the requirements of the Territory Plan and the National Capital Plan.

SITE B: Manuka Group Centre (Sections 40 and 96 Griffith)

Rule B.1 Building Setback, Development Footprint and Articulation

Buildings may be built to a zero metre setback on all frontages (100 percent site coverage is permitted on these sites). This results in no articulation zone as described in the general conditions of this DCP. A more considered approach to building articulation which achieves appropriate fenestration and creation of shadow lines, by use of over expressed joints, balconies set into the building footprint or similar should be considered. No glass curtain walls are permitted.

Rule B.2 Active frontages

Active frontages are encouraged for all new development proposals. Active frontages to all frontages are mandatory for any new structured car parks.

Rule B.3 Building Height

Maximum building heights for specific parts of the sites are as described in Figure 7. Building height fronting Franklin Street is reduced and design must be sympathetic and in accordance with the existing streetscape. Buildings in this area shall minimise overshadowing of existing buildings. Solar analysis of the impact of buildings on the pedestrian amenity of Franklin Street is to be submitted with any new development proposals. No overshadowing, at 12 pm on the winter solstice is permitted of the southern verge of Franklin Street within five metres of the current property boundary as described by Figure 7.

Rule B.4 Pedestrian address

Primary pedestrian address may be from Franklin Street on these sites.

Figure 7 - Detailed building height controls for Sections 40 and 96 Griffith (Area B of this DCP)

SITE C: St Christopher’s (Blocks 7 and 12 Section 26, Block 1 Section 25 Forrest)

Rule C.1 St Christopher’s Cathedral

The cathedral and campanile are to remain a landmark element on this section of Canberra Avenue. New buildings shall be designed to ensure they do not dominate the cathedral. Development of the site shall recognise the heritage values of the St Christopher’s Cathedral Precinct. A minimum of 10 metres separation is required between the cathedral building and any new development.

Rule C.2 Pedestrian Access

Public pedestrian access through the site from Franklin Street to Canberra Avenue shall be maintained.

Rule C.3 Tree Conservation Plans

Landscape plans for development applications should incorporate a tree conservation and management plan for trees on the site. Trees removed shall be replaced elsewhere on the site.

SITE D: St Paul’s (Block 1 Section 39 Griffith)

Rule D.1: St Paul’s Anglican Church

St Paul’s Church shall remain a landmark element on this section of Canberra Avenue. New buildings shall be designed to ensure they do not dominate the church building. Development of the site shall recognise the heritage values of the site. A minimum of 10 metres separation is required between the existing church building and any new development.

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