OPPONENTS of development plans on the former Ranch Motel site at Mount Martha are celebrating its refusal by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council last week.
The plan, put forward by applicant George Makool, included two three-storey buildings with a 96-place childcare centre and 53 serviced apartments – including five for social housing – on the 5630 square metre property at the corner of Nepean Highway and Bentons Road.
The Makool family previously had the Oasis Cafe on the site which closed in 2016 in a dispute over permit requirements.
Councillors unanimously supported Cr Anthony Marsh’s motion to knock back the plan at the Tuesday 13 July council meeting. “There is strong community opposition to the proposal,” he told councillors. “I cannot support a development of this scale and intensity and move to refuse it.”
Residents’ spokesperson Hannah Callow had said the site was not suitable for the large development proposed. (“Residents against apartments, childcare plan” The News 5/7/21.)
“We are thrilled with the outcome,” Ms Callow said later. “We weren’t sure we’d get the support we needed, but following the many community objections received, councillors had done extensive research into the safety and appropriateness of the development and could see that it would be detrimental to our community.
“The unanimous decision was a huge vote of confidence in our community. Councillors also attributed their decision to the written and in-person submissions received from the community and acknowledged that those who live in the area on a daily basis know it best.
“It was really empowering to know that community voices can be heard, especially when we all come together. I thank the councillors for the significant consideration they have given to this issue.
“There’s still a long way to go, but we’re ready to continue the fight at VCAT and are happy to have the Mornington Peninsula Shire leading the way.
“As a group we shared that we’re not against development, just inappropriate overdevelopment. I encourage anyone who wants to stop inappropriate development on the Mornington Peninsula to join the 61 Bentons Facebook group and be a part of the next leg of the fight.”