NORTHERN Grampians Shire Council has commenced work on a new master plan to guide the development of an area of land on the Western Highway.
Cr Wayne Rice said the Western Stawell Business Precinct Master Plan will set the strategic direction of the industrial and business land for the next 15 years.
"The area being investigated is approximately 60 hectares and contains private and public land, the existing industrial precinct and surrounding vacant land on the Western Highway," Cr Rice said.
"It's from the town border to Playford Street, north of Knowles Road.
"The master plan will guide sustainable business development and help to create employment opportunities, a diverse economic base and improved infrastructure and transport logistics."
Council adopted a planning scheme amendment at its August 2013 meeting and then sought approval from Planning Minister Matthew Guy, which was forthcoming in October.
The amendment gave council the green light to proceed with the necessary planning steps to undertake the new residential development close to the Western Highway.
Cr Rice said the project would help council plan the longer term economic and social sustainability of Stawell and broader districts.
"The master plan will provide for the future expansion of existing businesses and new business investment, through the extension of existing utility services like water, gas and power," he said.
"In addition to staging new infrastructure and development to make the most efficient use of scarce public and private funding, the project will enhance the amenity of the precinct, particularly along the Western Highway, which is often the first impression people get of our township."
Council has appointed Echelon Planning to undertake the work.
Cr Rice said consultants would be making contact with business owners, landlords and other stakeholders in the precinct zone in the coming months to understand and assess the current uses, barriers, servicing needs and opportunities for investment.
He said the planning works were expected to be completed by March 2015.
The Victorian Government has contributed $150,000 to the Western Stawell Business Precinct Master Plan through the Regional Growth Fund.
For enquiries please contact Jessie Newton, Acting Team Leader Strategic Projects on (03) 5358 0517.