Gisborne’s growth pain

By Jessica Micallef

A plan to develop 615 residential lots in Gisborne has been approved by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

The plan attracted 166 objections from local residents and has been described as “out of step” with the town’s rural character.

Developer ID_Land lodged a proposal for 39 Willowbank Road, Gisborne with the tribunal after Macedon Ranges council failed to make a decision within the required timeframe.

The original plan included development of 711 lots and was unanimously rejected by councillors during their June meeting.

Councillors raised concerns about the development’s lot sizes, increased traffic, the impact on local infrastructure and how the proposal met the character of the town.

VCAT approved an amended development plan, comprising 615 residential lots and an increase in the average lot sizes from 595 square metres to about 680 square metres.

A state primary school is expected to be built during stage one of the development.

ID_Land joint director Matthew Belford said the council had requested an increase in the average size of the lots.

“ID_Land was happy to accommodate [and] is very pleased to have reached an agreement,” he said.

However, Gisborne resident Ben Peck said Gisborne was lacking the required infrastructure to cope with “extra population”.

“I’m still disappointed that these kinds of developments are getting approved in areas where they are not wanted or needed,” he said. “The community doesn’t want it at all. It didn’t need to be of this size and scale, which doesn’t fit in with the community of Gisborne at all.”

Macedon Ranges Residents Association secretary Christine Pruneau said the development plan was “out of step” with the town’s rural character.

The council’s planning and environment director Angela Hughes said council was satisfied the amended plan met the requirements of the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme.