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Future vision for Horsham land sites

By Jessica Grimble 

A transformation plan for central Horsham seeks to address housing diversity and commercial investment across key sites. 

Horsham Rural City Council’s draft Horsham City Urban Renewal Project would transform the current council depot site in Selkirk Drive, which is due to relocate to Plumpton Road in 2025; the area north of Selkirk Drive and south of Wilson Street; and the area encompassing Firebrace, Madden and Baker streets. 

The three precincts are considered key to providing housing close to amenities and services, activating commercial development around Wilson and Firebrace streets and improving access to public open space connection to the Wimmera River. 

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The council has released the draft plan for public comment until February 9. 

Councillor Claudia Haenel said the draft plan addressed a ‘very urgent’ need. 

State Government projections for Horsham’s urban area had forecast the population would increase from 16,660 residents in 2021 to 17,469 in 2036 – though rates of growth between 2019 and 2021 exceeded this projection. A continued reduction in average household size is expected due to demographic factors, which has implications for demand, especially low maintenance and smaller dwellings. 

It means Horsham will require almost 900 additional dwellings by 2036, equating to an average of 60 new dwellings a year. 

“As we can see when we look at the designs, there are some great opportunities to address the housing situation we are all facing – both here and nationally,” Cr Haenel said. 

“There are single and up to three-storey offerings and even a new street created to address both the housing and amenity through our liveability areas. 

“These offerings are close to city centre services and the natural beauty of the Wimmera River and Botanic Gardens.” 

The council started the project work in 2021. Consultation has occurred across the past 12 months with key stakeholders including the Victorian Planning Authority, which has co-funded the draft plan, along with landowners, businesses, Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, GWMWater and the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action.

No re-zoning is proposed but a range of planning overlays are outlined to achieve quality development outcomes and will provide certainty to landholders, developers, residents and businesses on future development. 

Cr Redden said the demographic of Horsham was changing and the city should offer housing options for a range of needs – particularly those choosing to retire locally. 

Cr Ian Ross said planning was essential – including managing traffic congestion and traffic flow through busy intersections such as Hamilton, Darlot and Wilson streets. 

Cr Les Power said while planning was ‘fantastic’, he wanted to see action for the money spent on planning. 

“Sooner or later, we’re going to have to wake up – whether it’s this council or the next council that actually do it – and see something for the money spent on planning,” he said. 

“Let’s be realistic about it. When are we going to see these three sites available to build on?” 

The council has also released a draft Horsham South Structure Plan for public comment. 

People can view the plans, and provide a submission, at Horsham Civic Centre in Roberts Avenue or online via 

The entire November 29, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire November 29, 2023 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!