An artist's rendition of what a redeveloped Clarkefield township would look like, if property developers get approval from Macedon Ranges Shire Council.

Property developers behind a proposed 26-hectare Clarkefield Town Centre development are now preparing a development plan for the consideration of Macedon Ranges Shire Council.

Developer APD Projects has completed community consultation for the Melbourne-Lancefield Road development, receiving extensive feedback from residents.

If approved by the council, the township zone would include 450 dwellings, a supermarket, childcare centre, community garden and community centre.

The development also seeks to capitalise on the town’s rail connection, and the ability for all residents to live in a low-carbon and low-impact way.

APD Projects proposed that by building new sewage and water supply infrastructure, it would help facilitate township growth.

Once approved, developers said construction of the town centre would happen during a period of five to six years.

The development of the remainder of Clarkefield will require further consultation and a separate approval process to rezone land – likely to occur during a further 10-15-year period after rezoning.

Following webinars, online surveys and a drop-in session at the Clarkefield Hotel, APD Projects received a mix of responses and questions from residents across Clarkefield, Sunbury, Romsey, Macedon, Riddells Creek, Lancefield, and Woodend.

While some saw the development as an opportunity to transform the town and boost the local economy and tourism, queries largely focused on the need for infrastructure and facilities, sustainability and building design efficiency, and the preservation of local character and history.

The existing town centre of Clarkefield currently includes a small collection of private residences, heritage buildings such as the Clarkefield Hotel, Clarkefield Recreation Reserve, a CFA building, a train station and a disused school.

Overseeing the consultation process, APD Projects director Brad Paddon said feedback was provided on the development’s five ‘pillars’: a connected lifestyle, periurban township, a sustainable place, tourism and local economy and natural and productive landscapes.

Most respondents ‘strongly agreed’ with the pillars, but Mr Paddon said creating objectives was just one aspect of the planning process.

“Our objective is to maximise engagement with the Macedon Ranges community and share our aspirations and vision around what is possible at Clarkefield,” he said.

“Our biggest challenge is to convince people we are serious about setting new development benchmarks.”

APD Projects took feedback on its proposed Clarkefield Town Centre development at a drop-in session at the Clarkefield Hotel.

Some consultation responses included residents calling for a bigger school, a medical centre, more green space, wide streets, no roof-to-roof development or double-storey houses, and more references to energy efficient building design.

It also received questions about block sizes, which Mr Paddon said would be medium sized or up to 4000m2; and potential water pollution in Jackson’s Creek, which APD Projects said would be managed as the proposal included a plan to recycle wastewater.

One respondent said ‘the project reads like an exercise in greenwash publicity,’ and asked how it could guarantee a low impact on the environment without a ‘an enormous price tag’ for residents and ratepayers.

“To ensure our ideas and ambitions translate to tangible outcomes, we are working closely with project partners who will ultimately deliver on our goals,” Mr Paddon said.

“We feel confident in addressing all issues raised as part of our development application for the 26 hectares of land already zoned for a township at Clarkefield later in 2021.”

The next step in the planning process will see APD Projects submit a town centre development plan to council, before council commences its own community consultation.

Mr Paddon said APD Projects would continue to engage with council and take all feedback on board.

“We believe [the development] aligns to council’s aspirations for the Macedon region, especially around their leadership in the sustainability space,” Mr Paddon said.

“If we are to eventually secure support from council, we need to demonstrate our commitment to work with all key stakeholders and demonstrate our commitment to deliver what we promise.

“The community consultation we have done to date is being used to inform our application to council and take on board some of the feedback we have received.”

Recordings of both webinar feedback sessions are online at
shapeclarkefield.com.au.

People can still provide feedback on the proposal by emailing engage@shapeclarkefield.com.au.

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