Jen Bray

Development is a hot topic in Daylesford and the Middleton Field precinct has been at the centre of much discussion over the past few years.

Three planning applications were decided at last Tuesday’s council meeting that will make a significant change to the size and feel of Daylesford’s township with an increase of over 59 new house lots.

The Middleton Field development by Hygge Property has been on the community’s radar since 2019 and now includes 17 Smith St, 29 Smith St, 9 Raglan St and the corner block on 4719 Midland Highway, and brings a total of over 110 new houses to Daylesford.

Not surprisingly, there has been a considerable amount of community interest and concern about this project.

Locals have raised the issue of protecting the wetlands and creek line that feeds into Bund and Spring Creeks, the mineral springs recharge area, high quality farmland being built on, the presence of springs and mine tunnel shafts on the blocks, protection of a heritage farmhouse,  and the protection of a 300 year old Manna Gum, twenty nine 100-year-old Cedar Trees, and a tree in the Avenue of Honour. There have also been concerns about increased traffic and the need for green spaces and connecting walking and cycling paths.

There was a lot to consider here, and council needed to give this project much careful thought and planning.

Council wanted to find a better way for all parties to have a chance to discuss this significant project and work through these issues.

We ran an informal information session last year where community members, developers Hygge Property, council planners and councillors met at the Town Hall to view copies of the proposed plans and discuss the pros and cons. We got some great feedback from the community and the developers got to hear first-hand what was important to locals.

From this, council planners took a wholistic approach and developed a masterplan of the whole precinct rather than deal with each application in isolation. The developers heard feedback from council and community and modified their plans to create public open green space that could follow the natural creek line and the contours of the land. Other changes were made to protect the heritage farm house rather than demolish it.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, council imposed many conditions on the permit to fully address the concerns of planners and community. To their credit, the developers had given an understanding that they were in support of these conditions.

The final motion that was passed now ensures the protection of the magnificent row of Cedar Trees at Dayleford’s Town entrance through building envelopes, Tree Protection zones with a Section 173 agreement on the title.

We confirmed that the Avenue of Honour tree and the 300 year old Manna Gum will not be removed.

We have protected the heritage farm house and requested that geotechnical studies be done on the land to identify mine tunnels and shafts.

We endorsed the public open space plan for a wetlands walkway along the creek line that protects the mineral springs recharge and headwaters to Spring Creek, and provides a green link through the development and the potential for a public walking trail all the way to Hepburn Reservoir in the future.

Further, the developers will begin negotiations with council to hand over the land that the Cedar Trees occupy, to create a public reserve to ensure the ongoing protection of the trees and their enjoyment for the community.

At the end of this huge council meeting (the agenda was over 1000 pages long!) I felt that we had successfully achieved a workable compromise with community, developers and council. All parties made concessions and all parties achieved wins.  I hope that this is an example of the way we as a council can continue to work with everyone to achieve the best possible outcomes for our beautiful and significant town and region.


Cr Jen Bray is an elected Councillor for Birch Ward.

Councillor Columns are a regular feature in The Wombat Post. We offer this space as an information channel from Council to the community. Councillor Columns are not subject to editorial review by our editorial committee but are published as we receive them from our elected Councillors.

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Council Approves Middleton Field Developments but Spares the Trees

Mayor Discusses Middleton Fields Decisions