DEVELOPMENT plans for a new housing precinct in north Warrnambool have been described as a benchmark for regional Victoria.
It will entail a sweeping boulevard along the Merri River, parkland, a small retail shopping centre with a medical centre and space for a new school and kindergarten to serve the expected residential growth.
The north of the Merri zone will provide about 2000 houses on former farmland along Wollaston Road, equivalent to the population of Camperdown.
The first stage comprising 51 blocks was given a green light by the city council on October 22 and developers expect to have necessary infrastructure in place to release titles by July next year.
“There’s been good interest already off the plan of subdivision because of access to the river, open parkland and wetlands,” developer Darren Harris said.
“A new wide connector road with median strips will be built off Wollaston Road and the first stage will include parkland and some of the boulevard.
“The activity-shopping centre will come later when there are at least 500 new houses.”
Mr Harris’ development group will release a total of 250 blocks in stages, while other developers will handle the remainder of the zone, which will include a new bridge link at Bromfield Street.
City growth director Bill Millard told the October council meeting the new zone had been through a number of hiccups, but developers had done “an excellent job” in getting it through.
“It will be a benchmark for regional Victoria,” he said.
“Developers have taken a hands-on role in shaping the final plan.
“Originally they took a joint-venture approach, but mid this year they decided to proceed independently.”
Cr Michael Neoh, a former city mayor, described it as one of the most complex development plans he had seen in his time on council, with open space and provision for a school.