What is the Wandong and Heathcote Junction 3758 Project?

The Wandong and Heathcote Junction 3758 Project is a project that will piece together a new Structure Plan for the future development and growth of the townships of Wandong and Heathcote Junction, with your input. The Structure Plan forms an important part of Mitchell Shire Council’s long-term strategic commitments.

What is a Structure Plan and why do we need one?

What is a Structure Plan?

A Structure Plan sets out a roadmap for the future and assists decision making by Council. It considers the current situation, issues and opportunities and then develops ideas to influence the future changes. Structure plans generally include a series of policies, strategies and actions that consider the following issues:

  • the vision for the town
  • town centre and public spaces
  • shops, business and employment
  • housing types and location
  • community infrastructure (such as schools, health services, kindergarten, recreational space)
  • open space (formal sports, playgrounds, parks)
  • drainage, water and sewerage
  • roads and connections
  • public transport and cycling
  • the environment.

Why do we need a Structure Plan for Wandong and Heathcote Junction?

Mitchell Shire is one of the fastest growing areas outside metropolitan Melbourne. This is creating development pressures on communities in Mitchell Shire.

To manage this pressure, Council is developing a Structure Plan to determine the future role of the townships of Wandong and Heathcote Junction. The Plan will ensure that the look and feel of the townships are enhanced and the communities are well planned for and supported.

What are the boundaries of the Wandong and Heathcote Junction 3758 Structure Plan?

While the exact boundaries of the Wandong and Heathcote Junction Structure Plan study area are not defined, the indicative study area covers the townships of Wandong and Heathcote Junction and their immediate surrounds consisting of existing urban, residential, public use, commercial, open space and underdeveloped land.

Figure 1 provides an overview of the boundaries of the Wandong and Heathcote Junction Structure Plan project.

Figure 1. The boundaries of the Wandong and Heathcote Junction Structure Plan project


The process of the Wandong and Heathcote Junction 3758 project

What is the process of the Wandong and Heathcote Junction 3758 project?

The Wandong and Heathcote Junction 3758 Project will be made up of four stages and will run throughout 2015 and 2016. As the project moves along, the dates may change but Council will always ensure the community is updated so that you have an opportunity to participate.


Stage 1: Investigate the context and current issues (15 June to 17 July 2015)

During Stage 1 we sought to hear from the community, stakeholders, planning authorities and council to understand the key planning issues and priorities.


Stage 2: Develop an ‘Emerging Options’ paper outlines our understanding of your current and future needs (late-2015)

During Stage 2 we explained how the findings from Stage 1 informed the Emerging Options Paper to confirm if we correctly understood the issues and priorities you told us about in Stage 1.


Stage 3: Draft Structure Plan (early-2016)

Using the feedback gathered during Stage 2 we have developed a draft Structure Plan for Wandong and Heathcote Junction. During this stage we will explain to you how your input has been considered throughout the project and seek feedback from you on the draft Structure Plan.

The Wandong Heathcote Junction Structure Plan looks at the following key areas:

·  residential growth and housing

·  business and employment

·  urban design and the neighbourhood ‘character’

·  community infrastructure (such as community centres, childcare and health services)

·  open space and the environment

·  transport (including pedestrian and cycling networks)

·  cultural heritage

In considering these areas we will be also take in account the existing services, facilities, the town’s character and identity as well as sustainability and biodiversity.


Stage 4: Final Structure Plan (mid- 2016)

During the final stage, a complete set of plans for Wandong and Heathcote Junction will be prepared to guide council in planning over the next 20–30 years. The final Structure Plan will include a direction on how the plan should be implemented and recommendations for future planning work.

We will explain the final plan to you, including how your input has been incorporated.  We will also explain how and when the plans are expected to be implemented.

How will this project build on previous projects?

With the population of Mitchell Shire growing, it is necessary to undertake strategic planning to make sure Wandong and Heathcote Junction remain great places to live, work and visit. Over past years, Council has spoken with the Wandong and Heathcote Junction communities about their priorities and needs. We understand the community has put a lot of time and effort into these consultations, so the Wandong and Heathcote Junction 3758 Project will be looking closely at these past projects and asking the community if these are still relevant and what has changed.

What are the next steps in the project?

Following the exhibition period Council will carefully consider the feedback received. Council will make changes to the draft Plan where required and adopt a final Structure Plan. Council will then commence a planning scheme amendment to implement the Structure Plan into the Mitchell Planning Scheme. As part of this process there is another public exhibition period including the opportunity to present to an independent planning panel. The process for a planning scheme amendment generally takes around 12 months. Council will progressively implement the actions identified in the plan in the coming years.


How are the community being involved in the project?

We will be asking for your feedback throughout the project, so we can understand your priorities and views and you can understand the process of the project. At the community workshops held in December 2014 we heard you:

·  would like the Council to better explain the planning process

·  appreciate being given clear information through different formats such as written information and meetings

·  want to be genuinely listened to and for Council to stick to its commitments

As a result, we are going to be seeking your input on this project in a variety of ways - ranging from face–to-face conversations, group discussions, online conversations and printed information. 

Findings from previous stages

What were the findings from Stage 1: 'Investigate the context and current issues'?

Stage 1 of the project was undertaken between 15 June and 17 July 2015. During Stage 1 we undertook technical research and community engagement to understand the context and current issues facing Wandong and Heathcote Junction.

We sought feedback form the community on the priorities and aspirations for Wandong and Heathcote Junction. Approximately 97 residents, community organisations and business representatives contributed to the conversation using a variety of engagement methods, including online engagement, street surveys, drop-in sessions, small group discussions and a community workshop.

The findings from Stage 1 are outlined in a series of reports, including technical research and engagement findings. These reports have been used to inform the development of Stage 2 Emerging Options. Links to these reports can be found below.

The project reports are also available at Council's Wallan Office during opening hours at 4A & 4B, 113 High Street, Wallan.


What were the findings from Stage 2: ‘Emerging Options’ Paper?

The Stage 2 consultation process aimed to provide the community with an opportunity to give feedback on the Emerging Options paper. The feedback will be used as a key input into the draft Wandong and Heathcote Junction Structure Plan. Outlined below are the key findings.

Approximately 75 residents, community organisations and business representatives contributed to the conversation, including seven written submissions, using a variety of engagement methods, including online engagement, small group discussions and a listening post.

The findings from the Stage 2 engagement activities are outlined in the community engagement report. This report been used to inform the development of Stage 3 draft Structure Plan. The Stage 2 Community Engagement Findings Report can be found in the documents folder of this website.

The report is also available at Council's Wallan Office during opening hours at 4A & 4B, 113 High Street, Wallan.


Implementation and future activities

How will the Wandong and Heathcote Junction Structure Plan be implemented?

Council will consider the recommendations of the Wandong and Heathcote Junction Structure Plan and decide if changes should be made to the Mitchell Planning Scheme. If Council adopts the recommendations, changes to the planning scheme, such as rezoning, will be done as a part of a separate process at a later date. Any changes to the planning scheme must be publicly exhibited and affected landowners will be notified.

Implementation will also involve working with State Government, agencies and stakeholders to achieve the delivery of the required infrastructure.

When will issues on rural land and surrounding Wandong and Heathcote Junction be investigated?

The Structure Plan focuses on land within the Wandong Heathcote junction townships and and identifies the future settlement boundaries for the townships . Issues affecting surrounding rural areas will be investigated as part of a Rural Activity Strategy which will be prepared by Council in the medium term following the completion of strategic plans for Council’s major towns and growth areas.


When will roads, footpaths, parks and schools etc. identified in the Structure Plan be delivered?

Infrastructure items in the Structure Plan will not be delivered immediately. Some will be able to be delivered as part of Council’s capital works program. Some items will be delivered as part of new developments. Larger items such as schools and arterial roads will be reliant on government funding at a time when they are needed. 


The Kilmore-Wallan Bypass

What is the Kilmore-Wallan Bypass?

The Kilmore-Wallan Bypass is a project managed by VicRoads. The primary objective of a Kilmore-Wallan bypass is to relieve traffic congestion and the number of heavy vehicles driving through the main streets of Kilmore and Wallan.

For further information about the Kilmore-Wallan Bypass and contact details for where questions on the Kilmore-Wallan Bypass can be directed, visit www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/planning-and-projects/regional-road-projects/kilmore-wallan-bypass

What is the status of the Kilmore-Wallan Bypass?

This project is being managed by VicRoads.  The Victorian Government announced on the 11th of March 2015 that the Western option is the confirmed route for a future Kilmore – Wallan Bypass. The Structure Plan identifies this alignment which includes an interchange with the Hume Freeway at Wandong. Please visit the Vic Roads website for further information. 

What involvement does Council have concerning the Kilmore-Wallan bypass?

Council will have an advocacy role during the planning, design and implementation phase of the Kilmore-Wallan Bypass.  A report acknowledging the Victorian State Government’s decision and actions for future phases of the Kilmore-Wallan Bypass was considered by Council at its Ordinary Council Meeting on 18 May 2015.

For Council’s latest consideration on this matter, refer to the minutes of the Monday 18 May Ordinary Council Meeting, Item 9.3 available at www.mitchellshire.vic.gov.au/council/your-council/meetings/2015-council-meeting-minutes-archive

How will the proposed Kilmore-Wallan bypass be considered in the structure planning process?

The Wandong and Heathcote Junction Structure Plan Project will consider the broader implications that the location of the bypass will have on Wandong Heathcote Junction townships. However, the Wandong and Heathcote Junction 3758 project will not directly influence the bypass project.