By Steph McNicol
Planning was again a key issue at last week’s Macedon Ranges Shire Council meeting, with an application for a Romsey subdivision dividing councillors.
Councillors eventually resolved to refuse the application, with five councillors opposed to the plan for a subdivision of two lots into 15.
The planned subdivision would result in an average lot size of 928 square metres, with 13 out of 15 lots of an area of less than 1000 square metres – some lots planned to be about 760 square metres.
Despite council officers recommending to refuse the permit, Cr Bill West moved to approve the application and had the support of Crs Henry Bleeck, Mandi Mees and Andrew Twaits.
Council officers said the permit should be refused on the grounds it did not abide by multiple clauses in the planning policy of the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme, it did not comply with Romsey’s character, and a removal of a large amount of vegetation was part of the permit.
The land is located on the northern side of Barry Street, about 700 metres west of the town centre of Romsey.
Cr West said Romsey had grown quickly, and approval of the permit would be a positive use of the site and development.
Cr Mees agreed, saying the town had grown and council had to deliver housing diversity and affordability.
Cr Jennifer Anderson said she did not know Romsey well, but she struggled with the planned concept.
“I’m sure the applicant wants a good outcome, but as soon as you’ve done the subdivision you don’t know what will happen on the lot,” she said.
“You might get a development that doesn’t support the town planning permit. I have a sense of unease about this application.”
Cr Natasha Gayfer backed Cr Anderson, saying the undersized lots were a concern.
“I know Romsey is growing and we need development, but it still needs to abide by the planning scheme. The undersized lots are my main concern,” she said.
“There is an expectation in the precinct for larger lots as it is part of the rural interface.
“The proposal doesn’t respect the character of Romsey and I don’t believe the proposal is consistent with the current neighbourhood character.”