Concern over Woodend freeway service centre

By Jessica Micallef

A new freeway service centre has been proposed for Woodend.

Macedon Ranges council received a planning permit application to build a freeway service centre and access road to the Calder Freeway on Barkers Road, Woodend.

The application proposes a convenience store, three kitchens two drive-throughs, internal and external dining areas, a secluded picnic area, truck and car refueling areas, parking bays for 13 trucks, toilets and a play area for children. Applicant Crowther & Sadler Pty Ltd lodged the application with the council in April. The subject land is about 5.1 hectares and is three kilometres north-west of Woodend’s town centre.

In a planning report, the applicant stated the proposed freeway service centre is the first facility catering to northbound traffic after the Calder Park service centre, 44 kilometres south of the proposed Woodend centre.

The plans have come under fire from the Macedon Ranges Residents Association.

Association secretary Christine Pruneau said a service centre was not needed in Woodend.

“Why would you need something like that there?” she said. “It goes from being a freeway with a very rural outlook to a freeway that’s got this thing in the middle of it like Calder Park.”

Ms Pruneau raised concerns about the service centre possibly directing motorists and visitors away from the heart of Woodend.

“If you’re trying to encourage people to go into the town when they come here then this has potential to not make that happen,” she said.

“I think there is lot of reasons why you wouldn’t approve it – the potential impact of the town’s economy, you’ve got the potential impact of people who are living around it and then you have the impact of landscape which decimates the concept of rural.

“You come out of Melbourne and you’ve got that rural outlook. It’ll be quite confrontational.

“What good does it actually do for the shire?”

The council was unable to say when a decision will be made on the application.

It is expected residents can have their say on the application until the end of the month.

To make a submission: