Epsom Village Shopping Centre planning amendment approved

A planning permit amendment process for the Epsom Village Shopping Centre has also secured land and investment by a developer to help improve the Howard Street intersection.

The City of Greater Bendigo has approved the amendment, which focuses on changes to the corner of the centre facing the Howard Street-Midland Highway intersection. The final permit is expected to be issued next month.

Developers will need to provide a dedicated left-hand turning lane from Midland Highway into Howard Street, and a dedicated left-hand turning lane from Howard Street onto the highway. The Department of Transport has also specified that the additional land for the turning lanes will need to be provided up front.

The conditions of the permit mean the developer has approximately five years remaining to complete the works and no tenant can occupy the development until the roadworks are complete.

The corner is now expected to feature a drive-through restaurant, and a large-scale chain store is also planned for the site. Landscaping will be required at the corner of the site around the proposed drive-through lanes, which will incorporate an area of public space, and the original car park layout has been revised.

City Chief Executive Officer Craig Niemann said the works would be a positive step towards addressing community concerns about safety of the intersection.

“It’s not unusual to place conditions on planning permits to contribute in some way to local infrastructure, however when large planning applications like this are received it is an opportunity to consider what is reasonable and proportionate,” Mr Niemann said.

“These works are significant and will be a positive step towards addressing community concerns around how the intersection functions and its safety. The works will certainly open up the intersection and help it to better cope with increased traffic, so we appreciate the applicant’s willingness to contribute to a good community outcome.”

Should both the Epsom Village development and the KFC development (located on the opposite corner) go ahead as planned, the combined roadworks will help to address some community safety concerns.

The Department of Transport is responsible for the Midland Highway and the City is responsible for Howard Street. Approximately 19,000 vehicles use the Midland Highway per day, of which 23 per cent are heavy vehicles.

To further improve safety near the intersection, the City will upgrade the strength and durability of the Howard Street Bridge and widen the bridge to provide a 2.5 metre shared path to make it safer for pedestrians. These works are expected to be completed this calendar year.

In 2021, the Department of Transport upgraded the traffic sequencing at the intersection to allow for a longer right-hand turn signal from Howard Street onto the Midland Highway, which has already improved safety and traffic flow.

The Department of Transport is continuing to look at ways it can improve safety at this intersection, both short and long-term, and the City and the Department of Transport will continue to address any concerns raised by the community on future development implications for the intersection.

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