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The Centre is a diverse mix of retail, commercial and community facilities built around a ‘main street’ style design. The developers say that its aim is to "fuse the tradition of a main street and the convenience of a modern shopping centre". The mixed uses encourage people to make multi-purpose trips. Because it is well linked to a network of public transport services and a bus priority corridor in the form of the Parramatta – Rouse Hill Transitway, the location is highly accessible and less car dependent than conventional suburban centres.

The Town Centre encourages and enables active living in a number of ways. It is a good example of how a number of the design considerations set out in the ‘Retail’ section of Designing Places for Active Living can be put into practice. These include:

The Rouse Hill Town Centre differs significantly from most standard internalised malls by its blending of large indoor retail spaces with substantial outdoor areas, linked by a finely grained pedestrian network. Well-designed streets, lanes and pedestrian connections make the Centre easy to navigate on foot.

The Town Centre is based around a main two-way, open air main street that intersects with smaller streets connecting to public squares and other open spaces as well as to the indoor mall-style retail areas. Trees have been chosen to provide shade and protection from the sun in summer. Cyclists are also well catered for, with a network of cycle paths along creek lines and connecting local streets. There is parking for 150 bicycles.

  • Clustering of activities and facilities in an accessible centre

The Town Centre has been designed as part of an integrated masterplan, with high density residential and office development planned for the areas immediately around the Town Centre and public transport interchange, and less dense housing further out. The development as a whole is designed to provide residents with employment, retail and recreational opportunities that are close to their homes.

The Town Centre is within convenient walking distance of the transport interchange, and is criss-crossed with streets that provide connectivity to the surrounding residential precincts. This open planning will help ensure that rather than being an isolated, car-dependent mall, the Town Centre has good connectivity with its surroundings. This approach has the potential to reduce dependence on private vehicles and encourage active living by making it easier for people to walk, cycle or use public transport to get to, from and through the Town Centre and around their local area.

A number of open spaces are provided within the Town Centre, including a large outdoor market square, in which there are plans to hold a monthly growers’ market beginning in 2008. Once Stage Two is complete, visitors to the Centre will have access to ‘The Backyard’, a large area of open space adjacent to the retail centre. Children in particular will be well catered for, with musical play areas, an environmental education trail, and a ‘secret garden’.

The Town Centre is carefully linked to the other, larger open spaces that will be provided within the New Rouse Hill development as a whole. Significant areas of the New Rouse Hill have been dedicated to open space, in recognition of the importance of outdoor areas for residents’ quality of life. The development will provide over 34 hectares of parks and open space, and residential development is planned so that all residents’ homes are only a three-minute walk from their local parkland or open space. A network of cycling and walking paths is planned.

A transit oriented development, the Rouse Hill Town Centre is closely aligned with the public transport system. The Centre includes a major public transport interchange, located adjacent to Windsor Road at the western end of Main Street. The interchange provides a transport gateway to greater Sydney, linking directly with bus services to Parramatta and Blacktown – both of which are rail hubs – and to the M2 Motorway services to the Sydney CBD. In particular, the interchange is the head station for the North-West Transitway, which provides a high speed "bus motorway" to these major centres. The Transitway is utilised by a large number of bus routes that link surrounding suburbs to the major centres and intermediate employment hubs such as Norwest Business Park and Westmead. Reinforcing the Town Centre’s role as a key public transport hub for the North West Growth Centre, the interchange will also be the location of a station on the North West Rail Link. This link from Rouse Hill via Castle Hill to Epping, connecting to the Epping-Chatswood line, is to be completed in 2017.

This public transport network helps commuters, shoppers, school children, people visiting doctors, medical centres and hospitals, students and other passengers to get around their local community and beyond without relying on a private vehicle. To assist walking or cycling to these public transport services, there are clear and direct walking routes to the interchange and internal bus stops from all parts of the development area. As part of a developer agreement with the State Government, the proponent is also required to fund sustainable transport initiatives such as dissemination of transport information to households and businesses, car sharing and community bicycle schemes.

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