A MULTI-LOT subdivision involving the construction of 12 dwellings on a lot and the removal of native vegetation in Mernda has been approved.

The application to subdivide land at 104-110 Schotters Road was given conditional approval by administrators at this month’s City of Whittlesea council meeting.

The proposal was for the construction of 12 dwellings, a 29-lot subdivision and creation of a tree reserve, and removal of native vegetation including three river red gums. It also called for the creation of easements on two lots at 104 and 108-110 Schotters Road.

A total of eight native trees will be removed under the application, but two river red gums will be retained within a proposed tree reserve under the permit conditions.

A council report said the removal of some native vegetation, including the three red gums, was necessary to achieve the outcomes of the Mernda Township Development Plan overlay and facilitate residential lots in an area nominated for increased density. The report said the application sought to minimise the extent of vegetation removal.

In discussing the application, administrator Bruce Billson noted it was compliant with Whittlesea Planning Scheme but the development plan had not yet been prepared.

Council director of partnerships, planning and engagement Julian Edwards said fragmented land ownership in the area made a development plan hard to finalise.

“Development plans are typically prepared by developers and landowners when land is ready to be developed,” he said.

“In this area the land is highly fragmented in ownership, meaning that it’s likely going to be developed in more of a piecemeal approach.

“That makes things complicated when trying to prepare a development plan, because you need to get agreement and buy-in from all of the respective landowners.

“Having said that, the overlay does allow council to grant a permit without an approved development plan, so long as applications are generally in accordance with the overlay control.

“In this case there is a concept plan included in the development plan overlay, so the concept plan provides that guidance in the absence of a development plan.

“The current application is consistent with the concept plan that is listed there, which is also consistent with the Mernda Strategy Plan and the Mernda Local Structure Plan.”

Mr Billson said the area was well serviced by public transport, educational facilities, shopping and other services.

“There has been no objection to the application and it’s clear from the officers’ report that the proposal has been assessed against the Whittlesea Planning Scheme, including the Mernda Township Concept Plan and the Mernda Structure Plan, and it has achieved a very high level of compliance with the intended outcomes of these plans,” he said.

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