Whitten Oval redevelopment
Published on 17 December 2020
Maribyrnong City Councillors want access to Spurling Reserve to remain available to the public at all times.
In considering an application for a $50 million dollar redevelopment of Whitten Oval, Councillors have backed objectors’ calls for continued community use of both facilities.
The Western Bulldogs Football Club wants to construct a new indoor recreation facility, museum, and playground and increase the capacity of the function centre, car parking area, offices and retail spaces on the Oval, which has been their spiritual home for over 130 years. This would be in addition to demolishing and replacing the existing E.J Whitten Stand, installing new light towers, and resurfacing the playing field
There were 17 objections specifically around plans to fence off the Barkly Street frontage to support player and staff parking effectively restricting access to neighbouring Spurling Reserve and the loss of on-street parking on match days. Noise and light spill were also raised.
Mayor Michael Clarke says councillors can see the economic and community wellbeing benefits from the introduction of the function centre, shop and café and the addition of a basketball court and playground and improved pedestrian access to and around the site, including for those requiring disability access.
But he says they also recognise that “from its days as open parkland dating back to 1920, Spurling Reserve has played a fundamental role in providing localised open space for residents in an area which has a shortfall of publicly accessible open space. We cannot support it being fenced off for car parking.”
In granting the planning permit, Council is requiring all existing car parking within Spurling Reserve, adjacent to Barkly Street, be removed.
Council will write to the Bulldogs to explore the establishment of a community working group to formalise continued community access to Whitten Oval and Spurling Reserve. In addition it will be investigating implementing permit zones on match days in the streets surrounding the Oval.
The Club will also be required, following the first televised matches, to submit its lighting plan to Council for approval.
Objectors have 28 days from the date of the public notice to appeal.