Cruden Farm homes plan on the outer

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A BID to subdivide part of Cruden Farm in Langwarrin for residential development looks doomed after the state government signalled there is no intention to move Melbourne’s urban growth boundary.

Trustees for the former homestead of the late Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, mother of News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch, submitted a planning application to Frankston Council to ask for approval to carve off about 15 hectares of land to build more than 100 homes.

The application was withdrawn by the trustees before it was due to be debated and voted on by councillors at August’s public council meeting.

State Planning Minister Richard Wynne would ultimately have to approve the subdivision.

Mr Wynne has now indicated the Labor state government has no intention of moving the urban growth boundary, effectively killing off any prospect of a subdivision at the 54-hectare Langwarrin site.

The land is currently in a rural conservation zone.

“Labor will lock down the boundaries of Melbourne’s green wedges,” the Planning Minister said in a statement to Channel 7 News last week.

Frankston Labor MP Paul Edbrooke took to Facebook to “set some minds at ease” about the request “from the Murdoch family trustees” to rezone green wedge land for 116 housing lots.

“It’s not happening,” he said.

“I have met with the family trustees twice and my opinion has not changed. The opinion of [Mr Wynne], who I have spoken to about this issue many times, has also not changed.

“Regardless of the decision Frankston Council make regarding the application, the Minister is the only person who can rezone this urban growth boundary.

“In 2007 Dame Elisabeth stated that it was her wish ‘that the gardens and other areas be retained largely in the form at which they are at present’. I intend to see that her wish is granted.”

The rezoned land could sell for more than $25 million. Keith and Elisabeth Murdoch Trust chairman Ian Evans has said profits from the land sell-off would keep Cruden Farm open to the public “in perpetuity”.

Community groups including the Defenders of the South East Green Wedge and the newly formed Save Cruden Farm have voiced opposition to any homes being built on green wedge land.

When approached by The Times last month, the Planning Minister’s office advised the application had not been sent straight to the Planning Minister.

“No proposal is before the Minister, and nor has he been asked to call anything in,” spokesman Patrick Lane said.

First published in the Frankston Times – 4 September 2017

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