The Macedon Ranges will be protected from inappropriate development by new legislation introduced into Parliament last week.
The new planning controls will stop development encroaching on “treasured natural landscapes”.
Macedon Ranges will be the first area designated as a “distinctive area” under the legislation.
The legislation will provide a model for other areas of significance and “outstanding natural beauty”, such as the Yarra Ranges and Great Ocean Road.
The state government has drafted the Macedon Ranges Localised Planning Statement with Macedon Ranges council.
Macedon Ranges Residents Association secretary Christine Pruneau said the controls were well overdue.
The Woodend resident of 30 years said new controls would stop the area “falling into being a part of Melbourne, rather than a part of rural Victoria – a special part”.
“In Gisborne, people are just saying there’s too many people,” Ms Pruneau said.
“Places like Gisborne are just little villages – there’s limits to what you can do. We have to work out what our carrying capacity is.”
Ms Pruneau said Macedon Ranges’ environment, character and landscape needed to come before development.
“The minute you’ve moved your boundaries out into rural land to accommodate growth, you’ve failed to take care of the place.”
She said the residents association would “make it known” if they didn’t think the planning statement was “up to scratch”.
The Macedon Ranges Localised Planning Statement will introduce new settlement boundaries for Gisborne, Kyneton, Romsey, Riddells Creek, Lancefield and Woodend township.
The boundaries will be subject to the same rigorous protections as Melbourne’s permanent Urban Growth Boundary, requiring Parliamentary approval for amendments.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne described the Macedon Ranges as an important location for all Victorians.
“This landmark legislation will lock down the treasured natural landscapes that should never be encroached on – and encourage development in appropriate areas to ensure townships grow sustainably,” he said.
Macedon Ranges council did not respond to Star Weekly requests for comment prior to going to print.