Council supports redevelopment of Calder Freeway service station

Elsie Lange

Macedon Ranges council has voted to support an application to redevelop a freeway service station in Carlsruhe, north of Woodend.

The application to develop the service centre at 371 Cobb and Co Road, assessed against the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme and with consideration of five objections received during advertisement, was deemed to be appropriate.

At a meeting on Wednesday, March 23, statutory planning manager Evert Grobbelaar introduced the officer’s report, which endorsed the planning application.

He said officers believed key issues to relate to the sustainability of the proposed site for a freeway service centre, signage, immediate impacts and compliance with relevant planning scheme provisions.

“Any future proposed changes to the dimensions of the signs shown on the plans, will require council and [Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning] approval,” Mr Grobbelaar said.

Councillor Rob Guthrie was the only one to voice an objection to the application, who argued it did not establish the need for a new freeway service centre.

“The site is only kilometres from Woodend town centre and accessible to shoppers who usually travel to Woodend, there are businesses in Woodend who already sell petrol, convenience items and takeaway food,” Cr Guthrie said.

“It would be very easy for residents to travel to the freeway service centre instead.

“The availability of services in Woodend also undermines any argument supporting the need for duplicate freeway services at Carlsruhe, that is, the need for a freeway service centre,” he said.

Councillors Janet Pearce, Mark Ridgeway, Annette Death, Bill West, Dominic Bonanno and mayor Jennifer Anderson spoke in support of the application.

Cr Pearce described the number of conditions the application was subject to, and said it was important to note that it was a redevelopment of a current site.

“The design of it is taking into consideration the landscaping, they’re very aware of amenity, the lighting impacts and all of the objections that were raised have been noted and actually addressed by the applicant,” Cr Pearce said.

Cr Ridgeway said the redeveloped station would be located further away from the existing houses in the area, which would decrease the impact of lighting.

“It also provides a local service to the township of Carlsruhe, operating a milk bar, a local store and a cafe-restaurant and so forth,” Dr Ridgeway said.

“It provides local employment for young people in particular from Kyneton and the surrounding area, it provides a 24-hour service, which is not provided by the service stations in Kyneton, nor in Woodend as far as I’m aware.

“It also provides a truck stop and service station which is accessible from the freeway, which means trucks do not have to travel into town in order to fuel up,” he said.