Kippax Group Centre is located near Southern Cross Drive and is divided by large car parks stretching over a distance of about 500 metres with football clubs at each end. The main shops are located in Kippax Fair, an enclosed mall with ‘active’ shopfronts facing the carparks. Along the outer sides are apartments (built on the site of a swimming pool and squash courts), a church, two service stations, a veterinarian and a McDonalds fastfood outlet.
In the centre is an open plaza enclosed on one side only. There are rarely many people using the outdoor plaza despite its attractive appearance and central location near the library, children’s playground and bus station. Most of the shopfronts surrounding the plaza area are inactive in that they are not used for access despite having doors and glass windows. These shops open into the centre of Kippax Fair and the second, outside entrance tends to be seen as a security risk and taking up useful space. The only shops to open onto or near the plaza area include two banks and a small store. Further down the road, the Aldi supermarket opens onto the footpath but does not access the plaza area.
Another row of shops lines the road on the other side of the car parks, largely ignored by users of the centre. These shops include a real estate agent, dry cleaner, fish shop, pub, hairdresser, meat and vegetable store, gym, Pizza Hut delivery service and several cafes. The footpath slopes sufficiently that outside tables are not feasible in front of some of these shops. These are truly active shopfronts which could benefit from being near the open plaza area which is separated from them by the library and a road.
In the middle of the car parks is the library, an attempt to unite the two sections of the shops. The lack of people in the open plaza contrasts with the number of cars in the central car parks – visible in the background of this photograph (taken on 21 December 2013, a busy Saturday morning before Christmas). Most of the cars’ occupants have disappeared into the main shopping mall. Coffee shops that could use the outside area have chosen to turn their back on it and to use the central passage through the mall.
At the southern end of the car parks, past the long, blank walls of the Woolworths supermarket, is another block of individual shops, neglected by users of the main centre. These shops originally included a hairdresser and music shop but are now mainly offices. Near them and behind the supermarket is a group of townhouses.