A major extension to the ‘Middleton Park’ residential housing development at 17 Smith St has been proposed.

Smith St Development Partnership has lodged an application to develop a 2 hectare property at 9 Raglan St and an associated property behind St Michaels School at 29 Smith St. It is planned to integrated these parcels of land with the development underway at 17 Smith St.

The Raglan St and Smith St development extensions would add 27 houses to the overall development plan. This would lift the total to around 80 houses making it the biggest development in Daylesford for many years.

The Raglan St extension proposes 22 residential properties ranging in size from 637 sqm to 896 sqm. According to a transport impact assessment conducted by One Mile Grade for the developers, proposed road access from Raglan Street  would take some of the pressure off of the access to Middleton Park from Smith Street and improve fire safety for the site.

There are 15 trees on the additional sites, including Desert Ash, Mulberry, Sycamore Maple and English Oak. An arborists report by Xylem Tree Care recommends retaining 12 of these trees.

A storm water analysis conducted by Axiom Consulting Engineers has concluded that water run off can be managed through the creation of water basins for the site.

A review of the application by Niche Planning Studio for the developers has concluded that the proposal conforms with the Hepburn Planning Scheme, although the plan would not meet the Scheme’s public space requirement. Instead a cash buy out for public space is proposed.

Daylesford is identified as the highest priority for development in the Hepburn Shire’s Municipal Profile as a regional town. It is likely that there will be continuing pressure for housing from tourism, tree changers, local workers and from flexible working trends. In the future more housing  to the East is likely on adjoining land further adjacent to Wombat Park.

There are mixed views in the community about the Middleton Park development. On the one hand it very significantly changes the character of Daylesford to the East. There are concerns about the impact on the local environment and on the capacity to manage sewerage, water and traffic. On the other it provides much needed housing, including the potential for social housing, to support a growing regional town.

Either way, the Middle Park development and potential further proposals on adjoining land will have a significant impact, particularly in the East, and the development will need to be carefully planned and managed by Council and the developers to maximise benefits and minimise negative outcomes.