A HUGE proposed housing development precinct in north Warrnambool has been given a tick of approval by an independent government planning panel.
It is a major green light for the North of the Merri growth area vision to incorporate about 2500 houses and an estimated 5000 residents along Wollaston Road.
Warrnambool City Council was presented with the panel’s report last night and is likely to vote in four weeks on whether to adopt, change or reject recommendations.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy will then be asked to put his stamp on rezoning the farmland which would be followed by detailed planning and preparation of the first blocks for sale early next year. Key parts of the city council’s preparatory structure plan involving an extension of Bromfield Street with a new bridge over the Merri and other new feeder streets were supported by the panel.
However, it did not support an extension of Ponting Drive and acknowledged residents’ concerns about the likelihood of the quiet residential street becoming a “rat run” with a deluge of traffic from the east.
Instead the new extension from Bromfield Street is likely to end just short of the western end of Ponting Drive with a pedestrian/cycling path linking the two roads.
The panel did not support inclusion of lifestyle building blocks in the flood plain and recommended minor changes to the development contribution scheme for intersections.
A total of 52 submissions were received on the issue.
Residents, developers, the council and Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority addressed the panel hearing in June.
The panel’s report describes the council’s plan as “strategically sound and well constructed”.
“While there have been a number of submissions there was very little opposition to the overall direction,” the report said.
Mayor Jacinta Ermacora said the report supported years of hard work by the council’s planning team.
A copy has been posted on the council’s website for public viewing.