By Colin MacGillivray

A former pine plantation has been spared from residential development and the extent and density of planned housing near Jeffreys Lane reduced as part of Mitchell Shire Council changes to a Broadford Structure Plan.

An unprecedented level of community input helped shape the plan that was approved by Mitchell Shire Council at last week’s meeting.

Council received 70 submissions and two petitions during a protracted consultation period of more than three years while creating the structure plan.

Structure plans set a planning vision for townships, guiding future land use and the location of key public services.

Last year the Review reported that a petition calling for council to abandon plans for high-density housing south-west of Broadford near Mount Piper and Jeffreys Lane had garnered more than 1500 signatures.

Community members also expressed concerns about plans to develop Broadford Pine Plantation.

At last week’s meeting Cr Rhonda Sanderson said council had listened to the community’s concerns and altered the structure plan accordingly.

Instead of future residential land, the pine plantation, bordered by First, Gavan, White and Piper streets, will be added to council’s open space network, while the planned housing near Jeffreys Lane has been reduced.

Both changes will reduce Broadford’s potential growth during the next two decades, according to council estimates.

Cr Sanderson said slowing growth and retaining the country atmosphere of the town was something Broadford residents had repeatedly requested during consultation.

“A key theme coming through the consultation over the past three-and-a-half years … was that people wanted to retain the country town feel, and that has come through fairly well, I think, in this document,” she said.

“The structure plan envisages a population of around 10,000 people over the next couple of decades.

“It’s not as big as it was initially. In the early documents I think it might have been near [20,000], but there have been a number of significant changes made throughout the whole process following feedback from the community.”

Cr Sanderson said council received more feedback on the Broadford Structure Plan than any previous structure plans.

“I’d like to thank the community for their amazing input into this plan,” she said.

“[We received a record number of responses] for a Mitchell Shire Council structure plan.

“The two main issues that came through from the consultation were the pine plantation and the area around Jeffreys Lane. Those are addressed in the document.

“Both of those changes have resulted in a reduction of the population and an increase in lot sizes. That’s a good thing as far as the locals are concerned.”

Cr Fiona Stevens said community engagement with the structure plan had been vital.

“It’s been a long slog over more than three years … but the interest and the passion of the community didn’t waver,” she said.

“We had more submissions to this particular plan under difficult circumstances than we’ve had to other structure plans, so that says a lot about the commitment to this whole project.

“It was about … looking at it from a planning point of view, looking at it from a community point of view and finding a middle ground. In the end we got a good outcome.”

People can view the adopted Broadford Structure Plan on council’s website at engagingmitchellshire.com/broadford3658.