Green wedge market review approaches

By Casey Neill

The community can have its say on the proposed Bangholme produce market next month.
Greater Dandenong Council approved the DandyFresh application to develop a green wedge site in Harwood Road last June.
Opponents appealed against the decision to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), but Planning Minister Richard Wynne intervened in December.
He referred it to a two-person advisory committee, which will hold a directions hearing on Thursday 26 April.
Public hearings are expected to start from the week of Monday 28 May at Planning Panels Victoria in Melbourne.
Committee members Con Tsotoros and Kate Partenio will advise Mr Wynne on whether a planning permit should be issued for the proposal and if so, appropriate conditions for the permit.
In January, Mr Wynne’s spokesman said the review would focus on the proposal’s size and scale.
The Greater Dandenong Green Wedge Management Plan caps building heights at 8 metres in green wedge-zoned areas, and site coverage at 20 per cent.
The wholesale produce market would have 10 metre-high buildings and cover about 68 per cent of the site through a 5000 square metre sterilisation facility and 8700 square metre warehouse.
The spokesman said this process would help to determine whether the project delivered a clear benefit to the community.
A DandyFresh spokeswoman said in January that 200 jobs were on the line and that more than 40 growers in the South-East had expressed interest in the facility.
“Many of the growers and retailers in this region are currently forced to travel to and from Epping, creating congestion on our roads and adding costs to consumers,” she said.
Defenders of the South East Green Wedge secretary Barry Ross said the group was relieved that the minister called-in the application “as we consider it is a large-scale industrial-type development that would make a complete mockery of the whole green wedge concept”.
“Green wedges are meant to be about open landscape and rural activities, not large warehouse buildings and the busy truck traffic that this proposal would generate,” he said.
Greater Dandenong Councillor Matthew Kirwan opposed the application, along with Cr Maria Sampey, and said the minister’s decision vindicated their stand.