By Max Davies
A ROMSEY community group has labelled the draft Romsey Structure Plan a ‘disgrace’ and called on the Macedon Ranges Shire Council to throw it ‘in the bin’.
Currently open for consultation until September 25, the draft Romsey Structure Plan aims to provide direction for the planning and development of the Romsey township and the immediate surrounds in regards to housing, employment, transport, community infrastructure and the natural environment until 2050.
The draft plan has now been open for consultation on multiple occasions, however community group Better Futures Romsey, BFR, is adamant that it has ‘no redeeming features’.
BFR member Hal Pritchard said the plan ignored the need for infrastructure upgrades before major housing developments.
“If you look at every other planning document this century, they all identify that Romsey has poor infrastructure. We should only have modest growth,” he said.
“We have no freeway, no high school, no train station, no health facilities, no industrial or commercial precinct.
“We have a wastewater management plant that is over capacity and we have some real structural issues in the middle of town.
“Everybody says we shouldn’t be developing, we shouldn’t be putting lots of houses in here and this plan plans to put lots of houses in here.”
BFR is currently developing its own plan and vision that it will present at a community meeting at the Romsey Community Hub, set for 11am on Saturday.
Mr Pritchard said the plan was not about spending money, but instead addressing the fundamental issues in Romsey.
The plan considers and proposes alternative measures for increasing housing density in the Romsey township, as well as assisting commercial, industry, small businesses and farmers.
“As it stands, Romsey is not appropriate for development. We need to stop, fix our issues, get things working properly and then we can have a plan for growing and developing it,” Mr Pritchard said.
“We’re not against putting in residential development, we just want to do it in a considered and thoughtful way with proper infrastructure.”
BFR has contacted Liberal Member for Northern Victoria Region Wendy Lovell to outline concerns that Romsey residents currently have no easy access to a major freeway or a designated train line to the city. Ms Lovell has sought information from the government on planned improvements for the residents of Romsey.
Mr Pritchard said BFR had attempted to secure details from Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas without success.
He said a key issue was the town’s boundaries, as previous plans for Romsey stated they did not have to move until 2036 – a notion that BFR maintains is the ‘correct stance’.
“Do not move our town boundary until you have the infrastructure in place,” he said.
“You can still increase the population by improving the density within the town boundary, it says that in previous plans and we’re quite okay with that.”
Mr Pritchard said councillors had acknowledged the plan had flaws while voting to release it for consultation earlier this month and encouraged residents to submit their feedback.
To view the draft Romsey Structure Plan, access information about the council’s upcoming drop-in sessions and workshops or submit feedback, people can visit mrsc.vic.gov.au/RSP.
To get in touch with BFR, join its Facebook group at bit.ly/3Z105q9 or email email@example.com.