Forgotten feelings intensify

Macedon Ranges council endorsed the Draft Romsey Structure Plan in late July.

Zoe Moffatt

Romsey community action group members have been feeling a sense of déjà vu after the release of another draft structure plan, which they said adds fuel to the feeling that Romsey is the forgotten town.

Macedon Ranges council endorsed the Draft Romsey Structure Plan at its council meeting on July 26, with multiple councillors admitting the plan had flaws.

Better Futures Romsey (BFR) member Hal Pritchard said concern within the town is growing, along with the list of issues.

“BFR has almost doubled in size in the last few weeks,” Mr Pritchard said. “We have about 350 people which is probably about 20 per cent of the households in Romsey.

“We expect that to grow as more people become aware of the draft structure plan … and as the feeling that we are not being listened to grows.”

Mr Pritchard said council identified a range of issues in the 2009 Romsey Outline Development Plan but it is yet to be fixed as the town’s population continues to grow.

“Here we are 14 years later with nothing fixed but we’re double in size … [and] now they want us to double in size again without the infrastructure.

“They have to develop a vision and plan, and progress, not just open land to development.

“We don’t have a highway, we don’t have a high school, we don’t have a hospital, we have waste water that’s trucked out because our facility is over capacity.

“Either you put the infrastructure in and we grow, or you don’t and we don’t grow, because growth without infrastructure just creates a slum.”

At the council meeting in July, councillor Rob Guthrie said he was concerned council had built false expectations in the past.

“Last time I was on council we … [outlined] development plans … and a lot of infrastructure was identified [that] was needed before the town was to grow,” Cr Guthrie said.

“From what I can see none of that has happened.”

Mr Pritchard said BFR recognises the issues are not just council’s responsibility, and it is calling for more infrastructure from all levels of government, in particular the state government.