City of Launceston's new proposal for Brisbane Street Mall causes retailer concerns

PLANS: An artist's impression of the revamped Brisbane St Mall. Retailers held a meeting with the council and other stakeholders on Thursday.
PLANS: An artist's impression of the revamped Brisbane St Mall. Retailers held a meeting with the council and other stakeholders on Thursday.

A three-meter walkway around the perimeter of the Brisbane Street Mall is being discussed as a solution for retailers when the mall undergoes its City Heart face lift.

Meetings with retailers and other stakeholder groups were held on Thursday with the new proposal met with some concern.

In December retailers were told the works would be done in half of the mall at a time but a meeting a new proposal to see the entire mall closed off to shoppers was brought to the table this week.

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Coffee Republic owner Robin Smith said he was concerned the impact the high fences would have on retailers if it were to cover the majority of the surface area of the mall.

“Shoppers will always look across the mall to see if other shops are open and if they see one they are more likely to go across,” he said.

He said he was concerned cordoning off all of the mall except for a three-metre walkway would decrease foot traffic in the area.

Coffee Republic has been operating in the mall for 15 years.

Cityprom chief executive Steve Henty said retailers were supportive of the mall redevelopment but it was important for the council to continue their ongoing discussions.

“Most of the concern [raised] is about how long it will take,” he said.

“Everyone really wants to see an upgraded mall.”

Mr Henty said he understood it was “a passionate issue” but applauded the council for its approach to communication.

City of Launceston general manager Michael Stretton said construction details were still being finalised.

"Both the Council and the Baker Group are eager to undertake the works to the highest possible standard, with the least amount of disruption for shoppers and retailers,” he said.

"However, as in the Quadrant Mall, we are retrofitting a major CBD public space and retail hub, which is going to present challenges.”

Mr Stretton said the council would be working to ensure access to all businesses remained open throughout the works.