A dispute over ownership of nine “private roads” in a Sunshine North subdivision that has lain fallow for more than 90 years threatens to further delay the land’s development.

Glen Ora Estate has filed a writ in the Supreme Court seeking a declaration of ownership of the roads within the Solomon Heights development – just east of the Melbourne-to-Sydney freight line – which Brimbank council claims it owns.

The Supreme Court writ says, in July last year, Brimbank council forwarded a letter to Glen Ora Estate’s solicitor, Ron Silverstein, asserting it owned the roads “by operation of the law”, as they were public thoroughfares, as defined under various acts, including the Local Government Act 1989 and the Road Management Act 2004.

The Local Government Act says a council may, by notice in the Victorian Government Gazette, declare a road in its municipal district to be a public highway or, by a resolution, declare a road that is “reasonably required for public use” to be open to traffic.

Brimbank’s city development director Stuart Menzies declined to comment on the matter as it is before the courts.

An entrance to the subdivision is often strewn with dumped rubbish. Image: Alexandra Laskie

An entrance to the subdivision is often strewn with dumped rubbish. Image: Alexandra Laskie

The roads are within a 32.8 hectare subdivision, which was carved up in the 1920s and sold to owners without roads and services.

Today, there are 120 owners of its 465 lots, all of which remain undeveloped.

Glen Ora Estate, the company that subdivided the land in 1926, was deregistered in the 1930s.

The estate was bought three years ago by several shareholders and rebirthed, with the aim of completing the subdivision by building roads, drainage, installing electricity, water sewage, telecommunications and fencing.

Landowners would be given the option to buy into Glen Ora Estate’s infrastructure once this was been installed.

Engineering plans for the works were submitted to Brimbank council in April last year.

However, a letter from Glen Ora’s solicitor to landowners says the council has refused to evaluate its road and drainage drawings.

Last month, the state government gave the council $75,000 to employ a consultant to create a master plan for the subdivision, in the area known as Solomon Heights, in an attempt to overcome almost a century of inaction that has halted development of the prime land.

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