A plan to transform the home of a former National Soccer League team into 150 townhouses is closer to being realised.
Brimbank council has asked Planning Minister Dick Wynne to approve the rezoning of Chaplin Reserve, on Anderson Road, from special use to residential.
The state government sold the 2.2 hectare site to Sunshine George Cross soccer club nearly 20 years ago.
The club now plays in the National Premier League and intends to sell the land for a private development and relocate to Taylors Hill, on the corner of Taylors Road and City Vista Court.
Club president Jamie Chetcuti said further plans for their new “state-of-the-art” ground would be released in four to five weeks.
He said the new site would be a home base to both junior and senior teams.
The club will play its final match at Chaplin Reserve, on August 27.
Chetcuti said the old ground had held about 15,000 people when Sunshine George Cross was an NSL regular.
“We had a big supporter base back then,” he said. “It’s sad we’re leaving, but exciting times lie ahead.
“We have a very secure future for bigger and better things to come.
“This club has had a lot of the biggest [soccer] names go through Chaplin Reserve … the likes of Kevin Muscat, Paul Trimboli, Damien Mori.”
The club was founded by Maltese immigrants in March 1947.
Chetcuti called on past and present players and supporters to turn out to farewell Chaplin Reserve on August 27.
The state government has agreed to remove a zoning restriction which stipulates the site be used only as a private sports ground – as long as it receives payment for the difference between the site’s value as a private sports ground and its value as a residential development site.
The planning minister did not respond to Star Weekly’s request for a comment.