Plans for 250 new townhouses to be built on a heavily contaminated Maribyrnong site are stirring up health and traffic concerns among neighbouring residents.

Orion International Group has lodged a planning permit application to build an access road from Gordon Street that would run through Thompson Reserve to the landlocked 4.9-hectare property.

The former contaminated material dump currently has no road connection or right-of-way across any neighbouring parcel, triggering the request for a new eight-metre wide road to
be built through public land at Thompson Reserve.

Residents living in the neighbouring La Scala residential apartment development have raised fears about traffic impacts and are worried that work on the site could stir up contaminants and have a negative impact on the nearby Maribyrnong River.

Kathy Elliot said many of her fellow residents were told when they bought in to the area that the site was Crown land that would remain open space.

“At the moment a lot of the objections are about the road access and the amount of extra traffic this would create,” she said.

“Residents are also upset about toxic dirt being disturbed.”

Orion International bought the site in 2015 for a reported $21.6 million.

A planning report lodged with the application for the new road notes that an environmental audit has found the site to be suitable for residential development “subject to remediation and management conditions”.

The report says the proposed new road, connecting to Gordon Street via left-in and left-out access, is the only viable option given the site is bordered by Pipemakers Park to the north, Frogs Hollow to the east and the La Scala development to the south.

Star Weekly understands the site was long used as a dumping ground and contains about 200,000 cubic metres of contaminated waste, including demolition waste and soil dumped from other contaminated sites. A 1997 assessment report noted the site was intended to become an open space.

Orion International did not respond by time of publication.