Council received over 1,000 objections to the two planning applications from Development Victoria, for a two stage subdivision and construction of wetlands at the former Department of Primary Industries site on the corner of Burwood Highway and Scoresby Road (621 Burwood Highway) in Knoxfield.
Objectors were invited to attend a planning consultation meeting with the applicant on 1 September 2022. This meeting was well attended and the applications and objections are now being assessed by Council planning officers. The applications are expected to be considered by Council before the end of this calendar year.
It is proposed to subdivide the site and remove vegetation to create 105 lots and a wetland with cycling and walking tracks, open space areas and a bird lookout. The proposal also includes removal of a dam, often referred to as Lake Knox, once the new wetlands have been established.
Recently repair works have been carried out to improve the structural integrity of the spillway from the dam. These works were not part of the proposed redevelopment and did not require approval from Council.
Back in 2018 the Minister for Planning rezoned the land and changed some of the overlays in order to facilitate development of the surplus land for residential, commercial and retail purposes.
At the time Council made a submission to the rezoning process that called for the sensitive biodiversity on this site to be retained, protected, and enhanced. The submission highlighted the existing dam and recommended not changing the environmental significance overlay until the new wetland had been established.
Mayor Cr Laukens said Council can only judge the planning permit applications according to the planning controls that now apply to that land.
“There are very strict rules that apply to how we make planning decisions. If we don’t follow those rules our decision and any opportunity we have to influence a development application can be called into question and thrown out by VCAT or the Minister,” Cr Laukens said.
The planning applications and supporting documents can be viewed here on Council’s website.