A residents group is rallying the Macedon Ranges community to fight the state government’s proposed planning protections for their “beloved Ranges”.

Labelling the government’s plan “a road to death by a thousand cuts”, A Forum for Democratic Renewal is calling for residents to say “no” to the draft Macedon Ranges Localised Planning Statement. The group is hosting sessions to encourage alternative solutions for sustainable development in response to state government calls for feedback.

The draft Macedon Ranges Localised Planning Statement, which will complement new legislation to provide greater protection against “inappropriate development” in Victoria’s iconic areas, was released by the state government for public comment in December.

This week the Victorian government is hosting community consultation sessions on the draft in Kyneton, Gisborne, Romsey and Woodend.

A Forum for Democratic Renewal will run its meetings directly after these sessions “to ensure people are well informed” about the draft statement, according to group member Rob Bakes. He said the group wanted to support residents in writing their own submissions about the plan, which the group describes as heading “down the destructive growth path”.

The group argues the draft adds hundreds of hectares for possible development to the current Settlement Strategy and does not stipulate rural character should be preserved.

Earlier this month, Macedon Ranges Residents Association told Star Weekly the draft plan was “locking in growth, not protection”.

A Forum for Democratic Renewal was formed prior to Macedon Ranges council’s election in 2016. The group held forums asking the community to decide what it wanted from a council, before producing how-to-vote cards.

Feedback on the draft is being taken by the state government until February 19. To view the plan and make a submission, and to see the details for the consultation sessions, visit engage.vic.gov.au/macedon-ranges-localised-planning-statement. The first session will be held on Tuesday, January 30, from 3-7.30pm at Kyneton Mechanics Institute.

A Forum for Democratic Renewal’s session will take place there from 8pm. Details on the other forums can be found at aforumfordemocraticrenewal.org.