Old Factory plan shut down

Brakes have been applied to a controversial $4.7 million Woodend retail redevelopment plan to reimagine ‘The Old Factory’.
Macedon Ranges Shire councillors have refused the proposal for 30 Brooke Street in a 6-2 vote after receiving 21 objections and six letters of support.
Branded a tourist destination, the plan included a 40-stall market, 100-patron licensed restaurant, tavern for 200 patrons and function centre for up to 365 people.
It also sought a waiver of more than 200 parking spaces which neighbouring residents have slammed as “unacceptable”.
Seeking a notice of refusal, Cr Jennifer Anderson said the proposal was “at odds with what the community wants” and the planning scheme.
“It is an overdevelopment of the site, it has safety issues, it has issues with the infrastructure required around it and amenity for the local residents, and the parking waiver is too high,” she said.
“When considering other applications we may wave a few parking spots but this a large amount of parking to be waved that’s going to have to occur in the surrounding streets.”
Traffic, parking and the site use emerged as the key concerns for objectors neighbouring the area.
Also questioned was the level of activity proposed from 7am to anywhere from 11pm to 1am depending on the day of the week, allowing for potentially 500 people or more on site at one time.
The site is zoned industrial three, rezoned from industrial one, due to its proximity to residential areas. Nearby are two retirement villages and a childcare centre.
Cr Roger Jukes argued that council planners had recommended approval with 35 detailed conditions to help the development fit into its surrounds.
Since the application has been advertised, the developer has proposed safety and streetscape works including footpaths, formalising existing car parking spaces and street lighting.
“This is an opportunity to develop what has been left fairly unmaintained in recent times,” Cr Jukes said.
“The proposal is not considered to undermine the viability of the town’s commercial core, which has a centre focus on cafes and shops whereby the proposal offers varied uses.”
Cr Jukes and Cr Henry Bleeck were the only two councillors present to vote against the notice of refusal.
The applicant has the right to appeal the decision at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

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