Knox Council has negotiated new social housing, conservation of bushland and the preservation of rare indigenous plant species in a proposed redevelopment of the old quarry site in Norvel Road, Ferntree Gully.
The proposal, which requires a planning scheme amendment to proceed, includes eight new social housing dwellings for people on low incomes, to be managed by a registered housing provider.
Mayor Susan Laukens said this would be an excellent outcome for people in insecure housing. ‘Rising rents in the private rental market, and an inadequate supply of social housing means many people on low to very low incomes, are struggling to find somewhere to live. Single mums and single women over 55 are most vulnerable to housing stress, and both cohorts are often impacted by family violence and relationship breakdown. One of the measures Council has in place to address the shortfall of social housing in Knox is negotiating a minimum five per cent contribution towards social housing from the development of strategic sites such as the disused quarry in Norvel Road,’ Cr Laukens said.
Council has also successfully negotiated the transfer of 1.7 hectares of land adjacent to Blind Creek, which will allow biologically significant bushland to be conserved. Council will work with the landowner and environmental volunteers to preserve some significant regrowth which has been assessed as unlikely to survive where it has occurred. The landowner has agreed to save this vegetation, which includes some critically endangered species, to allow for propagation and planting elsewhere, with the aim of ensuring the survival of these species in Knox.
The former Norvel Road Quarry was used for clay extraction for the manufacturing of bricks from 1955 until its closure around 2009. The site is fully remediated and has long been identified by Council as a strategic site for residential development. The development proposes 138 residential lots in total and will require a planning scheme amendment to rezone parts of the site for residential, recreation and conservation uses.
Council will now seek authorisation from the Minister for Planning to prepare and exhibit the proposed amendment. If the amendment receives Ministerial authorisation, the next step will be for the community to have an opportunity to make submissions.