C153 - 101-105 Willowbank Road, Gisborne

Council, at the request of the landowner, has prepared Amendment C153macr, which seeks to rezone 101-105 Willowbank Road, Gisborne from the General Residential Zone 1 to the Commercial 1 Zone to facilitate the development of a Local Activity Centre (LAC).

Further information on the proposed development, including proposed building plans and frequently asked questions, is provided below. 

About the application

Alongside the rezoning application, a planning application (PLN/2022/359) has been lodged for buildings and works to construct a supermarket, medical centre, office and food and drink premises (two cafés) as well as seeking to vary covenant PS549356W – specifically relating to building height and fence controls.

The proposed amendment will enable residents in the south of Gisborne to have greater access to localised shopping, commercial and medical services and reduce the requirement to travel into the centre of Gisborne for basic retail needs. The proposed amendment will make changes to the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme to ensure any future development on the site will:

  • provide for a low-rise neighbourhood activity centre that provides a transition to the adjacent residential areas
  • create an active frontage and high-quality built form presentation to Willowbank and Brady Roads
  • support development that provides high-quality streetscapes that prioritises safety, pedestrian access, active transport and public gathering spaces
  • ensure the use of hard and soft landscaping and water sensitive urban design principles throughout the development
  • support development that prioritises the use of contemporary materials, forms and finishes
  • encourage the use of Environmental Sustainable Design throughout the site.

This rezoning and development will help fulfil the long-term strategic vision for this area. The site has long been identified as an activity centre site in the 2009 Gisborne Outline Development Plan 

Frequently asked questions

What is a planning scheme amendment?

A planning scheme sets out the direction, policies and requirements for the use, development and protection of land. Planning schemes are regularly amended through the statutory planning scheme amendment process. A planning scheme amendment may involve a change to a planning scheme map (for example, rezoning of land or the application of an overlay), a change to the legal or written part of the scheme, or both.

What is a 96a Amendment?

Section 96A refers to the section of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act) that allows a planning permit application to be lodged and considered concurrently with a request to amend the planning scheme. When a planning permit application is lodged under Section 96A, the planning permit application is exhibited with the proposed planning scheme amendment. The notification and appeal right provisions for the planning permit application are dealt with differently under the Act to a normal planning permit application. The Minister for Planning makes the final decision about the planning scheme amendment and planning permit.

Why is the land being rezoned from residential to commercial?

The site has been identified since 2009 as a potential local activity centre (LAC) to provide basic convenience needs (shops and services) for the growing residential population within the southern part of Gisborne. Currently the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme prohibits these uses from occurring on the site.

What is a local activity centre?

A local activity centre seeks to provide basic, everyday goods and services. They support a small local community and minimise the need to travel long distances for basic shopping needs. The centre will not provide a large supermarket or other specialty shops that you might find in Gisborne Town Centre.

What sort of businesses can we expect at the centre and will that be a Coles/Woolworths or Aldi?

The planning permit application seeks to provide a small mini mart (such as an IGA xpress or Foodworks) for basic shopping needs, café’s and a medical centre. The local activity centre is not providing another large supermarket such as those found within Gisborne Town Centre.

What about traffic in the surrounding streets?

A traffic engineer has reviewed the proposal to ensure there will be no major impacts on the traffic in the surrounding streets.

What about noise impacts on the surrounding properties?

The proposal includes an acoustic fence around the perimeter of the site and the proposed development has been reviewed by an acoustic engineer.

What is a covenant?

A restrictive covenant is a private written agreement between landowners to restrict the use or development of land for the benefit of other landholders. These restrictions are customised to the needs of the area and can include things like:

  • Limiting development to only one house on a lot
  • Control the type of building materials used for new buildings and fences
  • Prohibit the use of the land for quarrying operation.

When a covenant is recorded on a property's certificate of title, it is known as a registered restrictive covenant. Council is not responsible for enforcing restrictive covenants. This is done by those owners of land who benefit from the covenant, usually though the Supreme Court. There are three ways you can apply to remove or vary a restrictive covenant:

  • apply for a planning permit to remove or vary the restrictive covenant
  • apply to the Supreme Court of Victoria, or
  • request to amend the planning scheme.

What is the proposed covenant variation?

The site contains a covenant that relates to residential development and doesn’t match the aspirations to provide a local activity centre at the site. The amendment seeks to vary the covenant to allow a solid acoustic fence around the perimeter of the site and allow a building greater than 9 metres or two storeys, noting the development proposed is two storeys and a maximum of 9.52 metres (only marginally higher than the covenant restriction).

Does the proposal incorporate Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) principles?

Yes, the proposal incorporates rainwater tanks, solar panels, recycled materials, provision for a future electronic vehicle charging station and other ESD initiatives.

When is development going to start and finish?

If approved, the development is anticipated to start in late 2024/early 2025 and be complete by 2027.

What about noise, dust, waste associated with construction?

If approved, the development will have strict controls to manage the construction process.

Public consultation period

The Amendment underwent a five-week public exhibition between 8 May and 13 June 2023.

Council heard from submitters and reviewed all submissions at the July Planning Delegated Committee (PDC) Meeting. Council has provided a response to all submissions.


Planning Panel

A panel is appointed by the Minister for Planning to hear submissions about amendments to planning schemes, and to make recommendations or provide advice about if the amendment should proceed.

The Hearing for Amendment C153macr was held in-person (hybrid) Monday 27 November 2023 at Planning Panels Victoria

Sarah Carlisle, who has significant expertise in planning, environmental, and administrative law, as well as social housing and strategic planning was the Panel Chair.

The Panel’s findings and recommendations will be provided to Council within 20 working days. 

Panel submissions and supporting documents

MRSC-C153macr-Panel-Part-A-submission.pdf(PDF, 1MB)

MRSC-C153macr-Panel-Part-B-submission.pdf(PDF, 1021KB)

Proponent-submission-C153macr-Panel-Brady-Road-Investments.pdf(PDF, 5MB)