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Changes to Dowling Forest Equine Precinct Planning controls

17 October 2019

The City of Ballarat will prepare a Planning Scheme Amendment to implement changes to the Dowling Forest Equine Precinct Planning controls.

Ballarat City Council voted last night at its Special Planning Committee meeting to adopt the changes as part of the recommendations of the Dowling Forest Precinct Planning Controls Review, Final Report and Recommendations (September 2019).

The Dowling Forest Equine Precinct was introduced into the Ballarat Planning Scheme in 2012 to provide thoroughbred training land.

However, there have been concerns the controls have impacted on existing landowners through restrictions on their building uses.

The Dowling Forest Equine Precinct report proposes a number of Ballarat Planning Scheme changes to address landowner concerns while still protecting the thoroughbred racing industry.

Extensive consultation has been undertaken with landowners within and just outside of the precinct, and with stakeholders including the Ballarat Turf Club and the Special Use Zone 13 Action Group.

Proposed changes to the Ballarat Planning Scheme include:

  • Improving and refining the local planning policy to support the precinct for thoroughbred training, but acknowledging other complementary equine uses
  • Redefining where the Special Use Zone 13 applies, resulting in some properties being rezoned to Farming Zone C
  • Including six new properties in the Special Use Zone 13
  • Including land to the north abutting the racecourse within the precinct but retaining their Farming Zone
  • Promoting the precinct, reviewing Section 173 Agreements, which limits the landowners’ land use and which have been made redundant by land rezoning, improving road user safety and considering establishing public racecourse access through the precinct’s east
  • Reviewing the planning controls for land south and south-west of the precinct once growth area planning has been considered by Council.

 The decision supports the precinct’s economic activity and ongoing Ballarat Turf Club operations, recognising the racing industry’s importance to the regional and state economy.