Romsey school site deal signed off

Raelene Mottram and MP Mary-Anne Thomas at the park site. (Shawn Smits)

The group behind a campaign for an all-abilities park in Romsey can finally begin planning work with the sale of an old school site made official last week.

Visiting the former Romsey Primary School site in Main Street last Wednesday, Macedon Labor MP Mary-Anne Thomas and Macedon Ranges mayor Jennifer Anderson said the $352,000 sale was complete after more than two years of negotiations.

Ms Thomas said it was a fantastic outcome, with land that was owned ‘‘by the people’’ to be used for the community.

‘‘Good ideas will win in the end,’’ she said, acknowledging the Greater Romsey All Abilities Park (GRAAP) group’s eight-year campaign.

‘‘I’ve always been a supporter of the work of GRAAP because I could see immediately the opportunities here at this fabulous space.’’

GRAAP’s vision is to create a park that will bring together people from all age groups and abilities.

Spokeswoman Raelene Mottram said the group was thrilled that formal planning could begin.

‘‘It’s taken a little while to get there,’’ she said. ‘‘But this is going to be a special spot. There aren’t that many passive open spaces left in Romsey.’’

As reported by Star Weekly, the sale had been held up by a special condition requiring the council to release the state government from claims relating to any contamination.

This was despite the government’s insurance authority recommending that such a clause was not required.

Romsey Primary School moved to its current site in Station Street in 1994.

Ms Mottram, who praised the government and council for its support, said more community consultation would lead to a final design that could include sensory gardens or even a performance space with an ampitheatre.

‘‘Our vision is for a park that really will be a regional asset,’’ she said.

The council will work with GRAAP to secure funding for construction of the park.

Cr Anderson said she believed the park would attract people from across the shire and beyond.

‘‘This is a great project where the community, council and state government are all working in partnership for something that benefits everyone,’’ she said.

‘‘I know there’s going to be a lot of hard work put in.’’