Riddell ready to fight

Community-led Riddells Creek Planning Group members, Ross Colliver, Robert McConville and Simon Were, are fighting to keep the identity of their town.

Pressure is mounting for the state government to reject the Amess Road Precinct Structure Plan that would trigger substantial development of Riddells Creek.

A public meeting last week saw the town’s community centre reach capacity with residents ready to fight the plans for a second time.

The current proposal has increased lots slightly on the former plan for 1300 homes over 130 hectares, against common community sentiment.

Riddells Creek Planning Group’s Ross Colliver described the proposal as “an inner Melbourne suburb stuck on the edge of a rural town”.

“About 400 people came to the meeting, all wanting to speak up for our town,” he said.

“As a planning group we want to people to understand what is happening.”

Last year Riddells Creek residents rallied in a campaign for better outcomes from the proposal including minimum lot sizes of 800sqm. A submission to council included a petition with 1231 signatories.

Macedon Ranges Shire Council refused the plan last year following community push-back to growth that would change the town’s rural identity.

Project developers have since applied directly to the state government through the Development Facilitation Program.

The program is described as “an assessment pathway for priority projects in identified sectors to inject investment into the Victorian economy, keep people in jobs and create homes for people”.

Macedon Ranges mayor Annette Death addressed the meeting last week to confirm the council’s stance on the plans.

“We are disappointed that the same proposal rejected by council has now been able to bypass us as the authority for consideration,” Cr Death told the Express.

“Council’s earlier decision had encouraged the developer to reconsider and submit a revised proposal. Council maintains its stance, in support of the overwhelming historical sentiment from the Riddells Creek community, that the current proposal is not appropriate for the town at this point in time.”

Like the broader community, the council has the opportunity to become a submitter in the public consultation process.
The council is now working to finalise a formal submission that will soon be made public.

Public consultation is now open and will close on July 10. A decision is expected to be made public in September.

To read the plans in full, or to make a submission, visit: engage.vic.gov.au