A proposed 40 stall market and retail premises at The Old Factory in Woodend has residents divided.

Macedon Ranges council received a planning permit application to transform The Old Factory at 30 Brooke Street, Woodend into a retail premises with a 40 stall market, restaurant and tavern, event and function space and offices.

Applicant Human Habitats lodged the application with the council in June. The subject land is about 4000 square metres and is zoned for industrial use.

Woodend resident Russell Yardley said the application presented an “exciting potential development”.

“I can’t see much downside,” he said.

“Woodend really needs things like this. We’ve got to increase Woodend as a place to visit.

“I look at this and it has a lot of good things about it. It’ll bring tourists into the area but it’ll also provide more work.

“All the kids are always looking for jobs and this will provide plenty of jobs.”

Woodend resident Maxwell Winchester said the proposed location was not appropriate. He said the development would be better suited in the heart of the town.

“Anywhere on High Street would be perfect,” he said. “When you put a large retail outlet out of the town centre, you take business out of the town centre so other businesses suffer. If you put it in the town centre, they share foot traffic.

“There is no onsite parking and even their own application expects up to 250 cars on the streets. Imagine all those cars in surrounding streets rather than a carpark.”

Human Habitats town planning consultant Will Pearce said: “The site isn’t located in a residential area, it’s in an industrial precinct and it’s also not located in proximity to the town centre,” he said. “There is significant capacity for people to park in the immediate area.

“It’s a cultural hub for Woodend and a place for … people to celebrate major events in their lives. There’ll be activity there throughout the day which will bring a lot of vibrancy throughout the area.”

The council was unable to say when a decision will be made on the application. Residents can have their say on the application until October 30. To make a submission: bit.ly/33tW9Am