Two new suburbs approved

HUME will have two new suburbs – Lockerbie and Merrifield West.
Nanjing Night Net

Planning Minister Matthew Guy announced on Wednesday that he had approved the new suburbs as part of changes to the urban growth boundary (UGB), despite Hume Council’s concerns over infrastructure and developers’ contributions.

Lockerbie is expected to have 29,500 residents and Merrifield West 19,000.

Hume councillor Drew Jessop raised concerns about funding for vital infrastructure in the new suburbs at a council meeting last month.

Last week, after Mr Guy’s announcement, Cr Jessop said it was imperative that infrastructure was in place before people began moving in.

“Council will do its part and so will the developers, but infrastructure must be in place, especially public transport, which is critical.”

Cr Jessop said development should not come at a cost to the environment.

Mr Guy told the Weekly he had spoken with the council following the announcement.

“Council has concerns about the designation of funds for community services and that’s fair enough.

”They are [also] concerned about developer contributions being too low and my concern is that they may be too high and will price people out of buying houses.”

Also on Wednesday, Mr Guy rejected a recommendation of the logical inclusions advisory committee – a state government-appointed panel – to include land south of Dunhelen Lane in Greenvale within the UGB.

As reported by the Weekly last week, the committee recommended parts of three Hume areas be within the UBG.

Mr Guy approved 393 hectares around Mount Ridley Road, Mickleham, and a 16-hectare section near Somerton Road, Greenvale, to be within the UGB.

But he didn’t approve the committee’s recommendation on the land south of Dunhelen Lane.

“The report [of the committee] is only one of four stages. All land included needs to be approved by the council, Growth Areas Authority, the committee and [planning] department,” Mr Guy said.

A Hume resident, who didn’t want to be named, said he was bitterly disappointed the government had rejected the committee’s recommendation to include the land south of Dunhelen Lane within the UGB.

Council city sustainability director Kelvin Walsh said the council was reviewing the newly released plans.

“Key improvements to the corridor plans and precinct structure plans have been included – such as the role Sunbury town centre will play in growth of the region – but fall short on detail and certainty of infrastructure provision that council believes these areas deserve.”