Melton council has backflipped on its decision giving the green light for a Christmas market at Plumpton.
Councillors last week overturned approval for a Sunday market from September until December at the Melbourne Christmas Tree Farm on Leakes Road, with some saying it would be an “eyesore” and exacerbate the Leakes Road “death trap”.
Councillors were divided on the issue last month, when mayor Sophie Ramsey used her casting vote to approve the application, despite objections from nearby landowners, who expressed concern about traffic and safety along Leakes Road and Melton Highway.
Then, at last week’s meeting, ward councillor Lara Carli moved to rescind the approval and deny the market a permit.
Councillors Steve Abboushi, Michelle Mendes, Melissa DeSantis and Kathy Majdlik (who was absent from last month’s meeting) voted in favour of Cr Carli’s motion.
Cr Carli said she was concerned the permit had been granted despite vehement objections from ward councillors (councillors Carli and Mendes), as well as residents.
“There were a lot of things that raised red flags for me,” Cr Carli said. “I believe the proposal would create traffic and safety issues on Leakes Road and Melton Highway.
“That’s already a death trap there, and to have more people visiting this market is just going to [make it] worse and worse.”
She said residents raised issues including noise, rubbish, excessive vehicle movement, and loss of property values.
“The proposal would adversely impact on the agricultural uses in the area … and create an eyesore when viewed from Leakes Road.”
But council officers previously ruled out traffic once a week as a safety concern; they found the proposal would complement existing rural and agricultural activities, and stated there was no evidence to support falling property values as a result of the market.
Melbourne Christmas Tree Farm has twice sought approval for a farmer’s market previously, but was knocked back both times.
The most recent application was for a much smaller market.