Diggers Rest estate refused

By Sumeyya Ilanbey

A proposal to subdivide a five-hectare block in Diggers Rest into 93 lots, with only one access point into the estate, has been knocked back.

Veris Australia applied to Melton council to subdivide the land at 44-50 and 64-74 Old Calder Highway – behind Houdini’s cafe and the post office – and provide a variety of lot sizes ranging from 300 to 600 square metres.

In refusing to grant a planning application, Melton councillors raised concerns about the lack of disability-friendly pedestrian access from the railway station to the estate and providing only one access point for 93 houses.

Watts ward councillor Michelle Mendes described the proposal as “overdevelopment” and inconsistent with the surrounding areas, and moved the motion to refuse a permit.

There were 12 objections to the application, with residents citing traffic congestion, lot size and density and potential flooding from the proposed drainage reserve to the adjoining property at 52-62 Old Calder Highway.

But council officers recommended a planning permit be approved.

In their report presented at last week’s meeting, officers said while they acknowledged the grounds of objection the concerns raised have been, or could be, addressed through permit conditions.

In addressing traffic congestion concerns, council officers said this could be mitigated with a standard T intersection at Old Calder Highway.

“The [independent] review has found that the internal design of the subdivision meets all relevant requirements and is appropriate from a traffic perspective,” the council report stated.

“The report also recommends the removal of a section of car parking adjacent to the frontage of Houdini’s cafe to improve driver sight lines.”

Council officers said the applicants had submitted a stormwater management strategy, which identified that the size of the drainage reserve would be able to accommodate a wetland basin without any adverse flooding.

“The proposal is consistent with state and local planning policies,” the report stated.

“The subject land is existing residential zoned land directly opposite Diggers Rest railway station and in proximity to existing community and social infrastructure.”

A Veris Australia spokesman said their client was receiving advice and considering all their options.