Rock paddock still in talks

Hanging Rock's East Paddock has been used a concert venue and location for public events. Photo: Bruce Hedge and Kyneton Aeroclub

No agreement has yet been reached on the sale or transfer of Hanging Rock’s East Paddock to the state government.

Valuation talks around the council-owned site have not been abandoned despite differing views, Macedon Ranges Council CEO Bernie O’Sullivan indicated last week.

“The council continues to work collaboratively with the state government on its desire to purchase the East Paddock,” he said.

“The two organisations are working through the necessary land valuation and other details to advance these conversations.”

An independent valuer for the council assessed the East Paddock’s worth at $3.065 million in October 2019 but no offer has yet reflected this.

The council rejected a bid made by the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning in May last year, which it described as “significantly below” council’s valuation of the land.

DEWLP seeks to keep both its valuation and offer confidential.

Council officers believed it would not be in the community’s interest to accept the offer as it did not adequately reflect the asset infrastructure that council had invested in the site.

At a valuer’s conference held last year it became clear that the main difference in the valuations came down to site improvements.

DELWP’s obtained valuation did not have any added value for these items and suggested the improvements were “insignificant”, despite arguments the works bettered recreational use of the site as a concert venue and location for public events.

Councillor discussion in December made clear that any decision on whether to sell the East Paddock to the state government or to retain ownership would be subject to extensive community consultation. This community feedback would then inform the council’s decision.