Green light for roadhouse

An artist's impression of the planned new Carlsruhe freeway service centre.

Macedon Ranges Council has approved plans to relocate and upgrade the Carlsruhe BP roadhouse to create a freeway service centre.

The move is described as a significant upgrade for the 1970s facility with improved facilities, EV charge-points, more truck parking and parkland area. Design duplicates that of Longwarry’s Caltex/Hungry Jacks service centre off Princes Highway.

At council’s meeting last week, Cr Janet Pearce supported the council officer’s recommendation for approval, highlighting the detailed list of permit conditions.

“It’s a major improvement, it is required, EPA controls are very strict, and it is used very well now and will continue to be well used,” she said.

Use is expected to slightly increase with two main access points for the service centre provided from the north directly off the freeway off ramp, the other off Springvale Road.

Cr Mark Ridgeway said the upgrade would also remove trucks from Carlsruhe. He saw other positives in the local employment opportunities, EV charge-points and the way the site was set back in the landscape to be less intrusive.

The service centre will remain a 24-hour, seven-day station and registered as a VicRoads rest-stop. Earlier this month, applicants stated no agreement was yet finalised with an operator of the fast-food restaurant.

While the application has had plenty of community interest, it also attracted five formal objections. These related to traffic, light, noise and increased customers.

Cr Rob Guthrie felt the application didn’t establish a need for the service centre, highlighting various other rest-stops including services in Woodend.

Freeway Service Centre Design Guidelines require consideration of location for freeway service centres on strategic intervals of preferable not less than 50km from the existing centres.

However, Crs Pearce, Ridgeway, Annette Death and Bill West argued the site was already seen as needed and reiterated that it would be a rebuild of the existing station.

The subject site already has an existing Carlsruhe service centre that is located at midpoint, about 50km between Calder Park and the Ravenswood Freeway Service Centre.

The Carlsruhe freeway service centre application was approved 6-1, with Cr Guthrie the only councillor to vote against. Councillors Anne Moore and Geoff Neil were absent from the meeting.