89 Ross Watt Road Development Plan

A Development Plan (DP/2021/1) application was lodged with Council for 89 Ross Watt Road Gisborne on 19 November 2021.

The property is situated between the Rosslynne Reservoir and the Calder Freeway north east of Gisborne town centre.

The Subdivision Layout Plan included in the application for the 85-hectare residential site proposes 700+ lots, a child care centre and neighbourhood shops. 

The application was subject to a VCAT hearing. See below for more details.

Update - July 2023

Following the decision of Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to approve the Development Plan for 89 Ross Watt Road, Gisborne and in line with VCAT’s direction to Council, the Development Plan has now been endorsed.

In making the decision, VCAT determined that the Development Plan is consistent with the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme. In its determination VCAT concluded:

“Having heard all the submissions and evidence over seven hearing days, the DP is generally consistent with expectations in the planning scheme and generally provides an appropriate framework in relation to interfaces with surrounding land, a movement network, infrastructure, landscape, open space, and a neighbourhood activity centre, among others.”

Key elements of the endorsed Development Plan include increased access to Jacksons Creek for the community to enjoy, with a 12-hectare reserve adjoining the development. Several large old trees, including a culturally significant scar tree, have also been retained in a further seven hectares of open space for the community to enjoy.

The development provides for a future convenience centre and a private childcare centre.

The development requires the upgrade of a number of local roads to cater for the 768 new lots, including traffic lights at the corner of Ross Watt Road and Station Road, and Cherry Lane and Station Road. Road upgrades were a source of contention throughout the assessment of the Development Plan, with VCAT and the Department of Transport and Planning ultimately determining that traffic lights were appropriate at both of these key intersections.

The related planning permit for subdivision, vegetation removal, building and works - PLN/2021/616 is before VCAT for a decision. An update will be provided once it is determined how the matter will proceed.

View the Development Plan(PDF, 50MB)

VCAT Order - 1 May 2023

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has issued an order for development plan application DP/2021/1 at 89 Ross Watt Road, Gisborne on 1 May 2023. The order is not a final decision on the matter but provides the applicant an opportunity to submit a revised development plan in accordance with the changes required by VCAT.

The order comes after Council sought to not support the development plan and concurrent planning permit application at the Planning Delegated Committee of 9 March 2023.

The order indicates that VCAT found the development plan is generally acceptable but requires a number of changes. The VCAT Member was generally happy with the proposed density and layout but requested a number of changes to density on the interfaces and changes to design guidelines. The subdivision permit application will also need to address these changes.

If the development plan is amended in accordance with the tribunal’s order, it is expected a development plan will be approved prior to the consideration of the planning permit by VCAT. 

A future practice day hearing is scheduled for 21 July 2023 to give direction on the planning permit application PLN/2021/616.

View the full VCAT Order(PDF, 1MB)

A further update will be provided once a final decision has been made on the development plan and planning permit.  

VCAT concluded

The VCAT hearing regarding the development plan application DP/2021/1 for 89 Ross Watt Road, Gisborne has now finished. The Tribunal will now consider the submissions put forward by the parties and decide on the matter. This may include additional orders to the parties.

The subdivision application appeal (PLN/2021/616) was postponed pending the outcome of the development plan application. This is because the subdivision application cannot be decided on until the development plan application has been resolved. If the development plan is approved, it is expected the subdivision application will be resolved soon after.   

Council will continue to keep the community updated on any outcomes or updates that become available. It may be some time before VCAT makes is determination on both the development plan and planning permit application.

VCAT Hearing details

The VCAT hearing began on Monday 20 March 2023 and has now concluded. See above.

Planning Delegated Committee Meeting - March 2023

Council made a decision at its Planning Delegated Committee Meeting held on 9 March 2023 regarding the Development Plan application DP/2021/1 – 89 Ross Watt Road Gisborne, and the related planning permit PLN/2021/616, which covers the first stages of subdivision, vegetation removal, construction of dwellings on lots less than 300m2 and other buildings and works.

The decision was not to support the Development Plan and Planning Permit application due to the unresolved issues regarding appropriateness of lot sizes, traffic considerations, subdivision layout, response to the Macedon Ranges Statement of Planning Policy, landscape considerations, open space provision and design, cultural heritage considerations and native vegetation impact. View the meeting minutes.

At the time, a number of referral agencies including Melbourne Water (MW), Greater Western Water (GWW), Southern Rural Water (SRW), Department of Transport (DoT), and Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) (formerly DELWP) were unable to support the plan. 

Prior to Council’s decision, the applicant had applied to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to review the application.

The VCAT hearing began on Monday 20 March 2023 and will run for approximately the next two weeks. The hearing is now online. View the section above to find out about the schedule and how to request access.

Council will continue to update submitters and the community as the matter progresses and a decision of VCAT is determined.

Development Plan 2023 - Public Notice

Pursuant to order 4 of the Tribunal’s Orders dated 8 December 2022 (see VCAT Orders section below) the amended Development Plan and supporting materials are now available to view.

The Amended Development Plan supersedes the July 2022 Development Plan and the supporting materials. The changes between the July 2022 Development Plan and Amended Development Plan are explained in the Statements of Changes, mark-up of plans and tracked changes to the Development Plan.

The Planning Scheme requires public notice to be given regarding the Development Plan. VCAT has ordered the applicant through their legal representation (Norton Rose Fulbright) to undertake the notice. Some landowners in the vicinity should expect to receive this notice. No notice will be given regarding the planning permit. 

Other interested parties in the wider community also have the opportunity for comment and to make written submissions.

Submissions can be sent to: Strategic Planning, Macedon Ranges Shire Council, PO Box 151, Kyneton VIC 3444, or email strategicplanning@mrsc.vic.gov.au

Note: as identified in VCAT's orders, all submissions provided to Council will be made available to the applicant and VCAT.

Submissions closed at 5pm on Friday 24 February 2023.

Council decision on DP/2021/1 - December 2022

Council made a decision at its Planning Delegated Committee Meeting on 12 October 2022 regarding the Development Plan application DP/2021/1 – 89 Ross Watt Road, Gisborne and the related planning permit PLN/2021/616, which covers the first stages of subdivision, vegetation removal, construction of dwellings on lots less than 300m2 and other buildings and works.

The decision of the Committee was to not support the Development Plan and Planning Permit application due to the outstanding objections raised by relevant referral agencies relating to traffic, native vegetation, drainage and interface of the development with Rosslynne Reservoir and Jackson’s Creek.

Council also considered the application did not meet the provisions of the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme that are specific for the site.

Prior to Council’s decision, the applicant had applied to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to review the application. 

A Compulsory Conference was facilitated on 10 November 2022 and 5 December 2022 at VCAT between Council, the Applicant and several referral agencies. The parties could not agree on the outcomes of the Development Plan and subsequently the outcome of the Planning Permit.   

VCAT compulsory conference(PDF, 208KB) relating to application. The revised orders seek to facilitate additional notice to selected parties by 3 February 2023 if the applicant submits amended plans. The notice will again be undertaken by the applicant's legal team.

Council will continue to update submitters and the community as the matter progresses. 

It is expected that the full hearing will proceed in March 2023.  

Planning Delegated Committee Meeting - October 2022

A Council decision at the upcoming 12 October 2022 Planning Delegated Committee (PDC) Meeting will finalise Council’s current position regarding Development Plan application DP/2021/1 – 89 Ross Watt Road, Gisborne. This will ensure Council has a position on the proposed development plan before it proceeds to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) compulsory conference scheduled for 10 November 2022 and an eight day hearing commencing in March 2023.

Council will also consider the related planning permit PLN/2021/616 which covers the first few stages of subdivision, vegetation removal and other buildings and works.

A total of 28 submissions were received regarding the Development Plan application which was advertised at the direction of VCAT on 8 July 2022 to 26 July 2022.

Applicants and submitters (objectors, and any persons in support of the application who have made a written submission) were given the opportunity to be heard by Council on DP/2021/1 – 89 Ross Watt Road, Gisborne at the 14 September 2022 PDC.

The 12 October 2022 PDC will be livestreamed on Council’s website, in accordance with the COVID-19 (Emergency Measures) Omnibus Act 2020.

All submitters and subscribers will be notified of Council’s decision after the 12 October 2022 PDC.

Council will keep submitters and the wider community informed of the progress of this application when major updates occur. 

If you would like to receive email updates about the project, you can subscribe here.

VCAT Practice Day Hearing Update - August 2022

A practice day hearing was held by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on 29 July 2022. 

Council, the Applicant and a number of other parties attended the hearing to discuss a number of matters including setting future dates and which parties will join the proceedings.

VCAT provided its order on 1 August 2022 setting out future dates for consideration of the Development Plan which are: 

- A Compulsory Conference on 10 November 2022.
- A future practice day hearing on 25 November 2022.
- An eight day hearing from 20 – 30 March 2023.

Council will continue to update submitters and the community as the matter progresses and when Council will consider submissions and when the application will proceed to a Council Planning Delegate Committee to form a formal position on the application before progressing to VCAT again. The 1 August 2022 VCAT order is available to view on our under the 'VCAT orders' tab.

VCAT appeal on Development Plan - July 2022

Council is preparing for a hearing on the proposed Development Plan for 89 Ross Watt Road Gisborne before the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

Council’s strategic planning team completed a preliminary assessment of the Development Plan and referred the proposal to relevant authorities.

Based on its preliminary assessment it was identified that further information was required to support the proposal, this information was requested by Council on 24 December 2021. A further request for additional information was made on 28 February 2022.  The further information requested by Council and various referral authorities was received in June 2022, however the applicant had already lodged a review at VCAT. 

Council is yet to fully consider or form a formal position on the Development Plan application. The Development Plan will be considered at an upcoming Council Meeting to decide whether it will support or not support the proposal when considered by VCAT.

VCAT Hearing

The developers recently lodged an appeal to VCAT against Macedon Ranges Shire for failure to determine a decision on its Development Plan DP/2021/1 and Planning Permit PLN/2021/616 relating to the site, formerly owned by the Barro Group.

Council has retained legal representation to assist with the hearing. At the moment the hearing date is not confirmed.

Greater Western Water, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Department of Transport, Southern Rural Water and Melbourne Water (along with Council) have all raised varying concerns regarding the proposal that were awaiting further information. 

Council has requested that these parties join the hearing.

Under the Development Plan Overlay, residents do not automatically have the right to appeal to VCAT regarding a permit application or application for approval of a Development Plan.  If a Development Plan has been approved, third party notice and review rights before VCAT are excluded in relation to a permit application.  If a Development Plan has not been approved, the permit application must be refused.

An affected person can apply to be joined to a proceeding under section 60 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998. In deciding whether to join a person to the proceeding, VCAT will have regard to provisions in the planning scheme that exclude participation by third parties and also the nature of the proceeding itself. 

The decision to join an appeal is made by VCAT. For more information please contact VCAT.

VCAT orders (2022)

Read VCAT’s Consent order(PDF, 135KB) relating to Notice for P510/222 & P511/2022 issued on 5 July 2022.  

Read VCAT’s Order(PDF, 273KB) relating to the Practice Day Hearing held 29 July 2022 relating to applications P510/222 and P511/2022 issued on 1 August 2022.  The orders set dates for future hearings and parties which will join the proceedings. 

Submissions to the December 2021 Development Plan

We thank local residents for sharing their views.

Redacted versions of these written submissions are now available for public viewing, with all personal and identifiable details removed to meet privacy requirements.

View the submissions(PDF, 17MB)

Land and zoning history

  • The 85-hectare site at 89 Ross Watt Road has been zoned for residential development for nearly 30 years. 
  • Former owners, the Barro Group previously proposed the site be developed for a basalt quarry and landfill in the 1980s. 
  • The proposal was not supported by the Shire of Gisborne, the community and government agencies at the time.
  • Part of the landholding was rezoned for residential purposes in 1993 through Amendment L21 to the Gisborne Planning Scheme and has remained undeveloped since then.
  • This land within Gisborne’s town boundary was always destined to be residential land under the Gisborne Outline Development Plan. Initially adopted by Council in 2006, the ODP was developed to ensure Gisborne’s future development is managed in an orderly, coordinated and sustainable way.
  • The site has a Development Plan Overlay applied that requires a development plan to be submitted and approved prior to any planning permits being approved and development occurring. 
  • This plan must consider the future community and physical infrastructure upgrades required and be developed in consultation with relevant authorities including the Regional Roads Victoria and servicing agencies.
  • Council’s intention is to work together with these agencies and the developers for the best outcome for the community. 

The developer’s consultants have advised that they have prepared Gisborne Area 1 Development Plan to meet requirements of the Development Plan Overlay Schedule 4 which reflects the Gisborne Outline Development Plan, 2009.

The site’s Development Plan Overlay Schedule 4(PDF, 350KB) provides local policy direction for planning controls and gives detailed guidance for this particular area. 

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If you would like more information, contact Strategic Planning on (03) 5422 0333 or email strategicplanning@mrsc.vic.gov.au