Planning predicament

A masterplan focused on Wallan’s King and Queen Street precinct, will form council’s preferred development for the area following community consultation. The above map shows the proposed roads to be built as part of the masterplan.

By Jackson Russell

A future development plan for an eastern section of Wallan will be a step closer after a draft masterplan for the King Street and Queen Street precinct undergoes public consultation.

The area is about 80 hectares, currently containing about 180 properties, Wallan cemetery and Mittagong Creek.

The masterplan is designed to assist in co-ordinating development in the King and Queen Street precinct, which is a ‘key infill development area’ of Wallan and will form council’s preferred development outcome for the area.

All but one councillor, central ward councillor Bob Humm, voted in favour of an amended motion put forward by south ward councillor Rob Eldridge at last week’s Mitchell Shire Council meeting.

The amendment extended the consultation period from one month to eight weeks and recommended council seek compensation for the loss of reserve land.

According to council’s development and infrastructure director Mike McIntosh, the amended masterplan is unlikely to return to the current councillors before a new council is elected in October due to the extended consultation period.

The area included in the draft plan lies east of the Northern Highway and is bounded by Windham Street in the west, William Street to the north, Mittagong Creek to the east and Wallan Creek, Watson Street and existing development to the south.

Many of the existing allotments are within walking distance to Wallan’s key services and facilities.

The area has remained largely undeveloped due to the lack of reticulated sewerage, apart from some redevelopments of larger lots.

As part of the masterplan, both King and Queen streets will be upgraded into boulevard-style streets with extensive street planning, along with a north-south road connecting Watson Street and William Street and crossing King and Queen streets.

Medium-density development will be located closer to the Northern Highway, while lower-density development would front William Street.

Conventional residential development will fill the remaining area and the majority of the precinct.

A one-hectare park will be located between King Street and William Street, along with a hectare of unencumbered land along Mittagong Creek and 6.53 hectares along both creeks for a waterway reserve.

Cr Eldridge said in normal circumstances, council planners would be able to speak to the public face-to-face, but that was not feasible due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“The extended consultation period is to make sure that we’ve got adequate consultation for what is an important part of the long-term future of the Wallan central area,” he said.

Cr Eldridge said the road on the plan transversed the community park in an area that was currently being used as an off-leash area.

“Wallan in general has a shortage of public open space so I think it’s necessary that we make sure there is compensation for that loss because without that access to Watson Street, the viability of development wouldn’t be there,” he said.

“I think it’s only fair we get compensation in terms of other public open space either in this development or around Wallan.”

North ward councillor Bill Chisholm said the importance of the area was highlighted in the original Wallan Structure Plan.

“It’s really critical and council has taken a lead role over the last two councils in planning for the future of our towns and this plan only goes to highlight that,” he said.

“It also supplies virtually an eastern bypass to the main street of Wallan and allows traffic alternate routes, whether you’re heading for the station or hopefully the new ramps on the freeway.”

North ward councillor Fiona Stevens welcomed community feedback on the masterplan.

“This is a draft document, it’s not locked in. If the community has questions, concerns or a better idea, by all means put those forward,” she said.