Melton council has endorsed the sale of land in Melton South to the Department of Health and Human Services, paving the way for a new community housing development.

The land on McDonald Road has been a point of contention between the council and residents, with more than 200 people signing a petition to keep the land as open recreation space.

A decision at the July council meeting opened the door for a re-zoning and sale of one-third of the parkland on the street. Both of those moves were ticked off at last week’s meeting.

The land is now free to be sold for a minimum of $865,000, with two-thirds of the park to remain as open space.

Cr Ken Hardy spoke against the rezoning and the sale of the land, saying more open space was needed in the area, not less.

“Parks connect kids and adults with nature and each other,” Cr Hardy said.

“Melton South is prone to over-design. It is within that catchment space that will have high-density living.

“We’ve got park strategies all over the place and we want to sell this off – I just don’t get it.”

Cr Steve Abboushi said the community housing project proposed for the site was needed.

“Our community desperately needs more community housing or accommodation,” he said. “There is a massive shortage for this, not only in the City of Melton, but across the state … I’m proud to move this motion that enables further discussions on this.”

A group of residents recently said it would continue to fight the sale of the land by taking its concerns to local MP Steve McGhie and Planning Minister Richard Wynne.