Community association revives fight for Newcombe Street block

March 15, 2024 BY

As a buyer, even if you are not borrowing, uncertainty and negative sentiment around interest rates can see many potential coastal buyers sitting on the fence until the future becomes clearer.

THE Portarlington Community Association (PCA) has relaunched its campaign to have a privately-owned plot of land on Newcombe Street returned to public hands.

The site at 49 Newcombe Street, Portarlington has been the subject of two controversial development proposals in recent years, both of which were steadfastly opposed by the PCA and were knocked back at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

In one instance, then-state Planning Minister Richard Wynne, intervened in the proposal’s consideration, deciding it should not proceed.

The PCA’s Anne Whisken said the sale of the land, which was once crown-owned, was a “past misstep” that “needs to be addressed”.

The association is now calling on the state and federal government to compensate the owners of the site and return it to public land.

“While ever that site remains in private hands, it can be subject to another planning proposal for a building which will most probably be a lot larger than the thing that is there at present,” Ms Whisken said.

“At this stage, we want to address a misconception in the community that because it’s been refused twice at VCAT, then it’s no longer an issue.”

The PCA would like to see the site reinstated as a coastal open park.

“Geelong has its area down there on the foreshore,” Ms Whisken said.

“Nobody’s going to put up a big building between the main streets up there and the foreshore. All of the buildings are back on the south side, and we want the same here.

“You wouldn’t dream of doing it anywhere else, so we think it’s most inappropriate to be done here as well.”

She said the association had already reached out to state member for Bellarine, Alison Marchant, and had plans to contact federal member for Corangamite Libby Coker, to ask for assistance.

“At this stage, we’re putting our trust in the two levels of government, state and federal, for them to do the right thing by the community,” Ms Whisken said.

“I think at both a state and federal level, they will see how much the community of Portarlington will appreciate their efforts on our behalf. I think it can be a win for everybody.

Ms Whisken said the PCA was a “very positive group” that “represents the views of the community”.

“This is the first time the Portarlington Community Association has ever actively campaigned against any development on the Bellarine,” she said.

“Sometimes when various groups can be seen as anti-development, I would say the community association truly does represent the feelings of the whole community.”

Alison Marchant and Libby Coker have been contacted for comment.