An aerial view of planned land acquisitions to progress the Mernda Sports Hub project.

THE City of Whittlesea has moved to acquire land for the continuing development of the Mernda Sports Hub project.

Council administrators voted to request an amendment to the planning scheme that would allow a public acquisition overlay on parts of land at 1470 Plenty Road and 1455A Plenty Road in Mernda.

If the request is approved by the Minister for Planning, the proposed amendment to the planning scheme will be exhibited publicly and people will have a chance to make submissions before administrators vote on whether or not to adopt it.

Council director of partnerships, planning and engagement Julian Edwards said the land would be used to facilitate an upgrade of the intersection of Everton Drive and Plenty Road while also providing space for the Mernda Regional Recreation Reserve.

Mr Edwards said council officers had conducted preliminary discussions with Major Roads Projects Victoria, the Department of Transport and the Department of Land, Water, Environment and Planning about the project.

“Initial consultation has been undertaken with those state authorities,” he said.

“They play a crucial role in the process, and that is in assessing the planning scheme amendment, in making recommendations to the Minister for Planning and also in ensuring there is an appropriate ultimate design in coordination with the Plenty Road upgrade project that adjoins the intersection that would ultimately be created through this amendment.

“These parties will naturally remain involved as the amendment proceeds through the relevant steps.

“Council will continue to work with them, and to date, they have not expressed any concerns with the project.”

A council report noted that landowners at both properties had been engaged by council officers with the aim of acquiring the land, but that the negotiations were unsuccessful.

It was therefore recommended that administrators request the planning scheme amendment to allow a public acquisition overlay, enabling council to compulsorily acquire the land.

Landowners at both properties will be formally notified through the amendment process.
Administrator Bruce Billson said the land was vital to the Mernda Sports Hub project.

“The delivery of the Mernda Sports Hub is a real council flagship project, and requires appropriate site access from the intersection of Everton Drive and Plenty Road, and a road connection,” he said.

“A small tract of additional land is required to complete the Mernda Regional Recreation Reserve.

“This report is about seeking authorisation… to acquire that land and therefore progress this key project.”