By Kyra Gillespie
Bass MP Brian Paynter has vowed to “scrap” and review plans for a behemoth housing development on Pakenham’s eastern fringe, if a Guy Government is elected.
The Pakenham East Precinct Structure Plan, which will transform over 630 hectares of farmland to the west of Deep Creek and Ryan Road into a neighbourhood accommodating up to 22,000 people if approved, has been steeped in controversy since its plans were released for public review last year.
Despite independent panellists reviewing and amending the design, Mr Paynter believes the plans are “not acceptable” in their current form.
If elected, he says he would work closely with Shadow Planning Minister David Davis to overhaul the current designs, which took seven years to complete.
“If we get in I will be speaking to David about having the Precinct Structure Plan completely reviewed,” Mr Paynter said.
“At the moment the plans have been put up to the minister without ramps feeding on and off the Princes Freeway and without a new train station. We will scrap the plans and throw them back to the Planning Authority to look at.
“The plans as they stand are not acceptable because of the impact that the future congestion will have on Pakenham; the traffic is going to be an absolute nightmare, especially with the new stabling yard opening up.
“There needs to be better provision for traffic, I don’t think people have really thought it through.”
Developer Parklea has welcomed the election promise and is “happy to work with the Liberal party for a complete re-proposal” according to a spokesperson.
“This is the last chance to get the infrastructure right for Pakenham East and we will work with the government of the day to see that delivered,” the Parklea spokesperson continued.
“Parklea has always been passionate about the need for a park and ride railway; people along the way have decided that Pakenham can cope with 22,000 additional people without a new train station or direct connections to the freeway – and it’s clear that the Liberal party doesn’t think Pakenham can move ahead without those things.
“If they do go back to the PSP plans we don’t think they will have to completely revisit the whole thing – the changes Brian is talking about are something we think can be accommodated quite efficiently.”
A 124 page final panel report has been submitted to the Minister for Planning Richard Wynne for approval.
With the state government currently in caretaker mode, it is unlikely that a decision will be made by the minister before the state election.
Ryan Road resident Sue Cleary said she “fully supports” Mr Paynter’s proposal.
“We fully support Brian Paynter’s statement. The panel, that was appointed as supposedly independent, totally disregarded the major concerns raised during the hearing process,” she said.
“The current design of the PSP will only further compound the traffic issues for the Pakenham area, with already gridlocked roads, being further clogged.
“The lack of infrastructure will further lead to more issues, with those moving into the area being heavily reliant on cars for travel. The current rail station won’t cope with the increase in usage.
“The design of the PSP falls well short of good planning and needs to be redesigned to consider the long term needs of those living in the precinct, the residents in low density area adjacent to this precinct and the wider community as a whole.”
A Cardinia Shire spokesperson said council is not making official comments on election promises during the campaign period.
The Victorian Planning Authority is also unable to comment on election commitments.