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Key details

Location 
Corner of Burwood Highway and Scoresby Road, Knoxfield

Policy objective
Housing

Overview

We are creating a vibrant new neighbourhood in Knoxfield, with diverse housing and open recreational spaces for the community to enjoy. 

The site at 609-621 Burwood Highway was formerly used as a Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) horticultural research facility. As the Victorian Government’s property developer, we are revitalising the site to deliver much needed housing, open space as well as a mixed use zone which could include such things as retail and other services for the community.

Following extensive development work and community consultation, we have now lodged permit applications with Knox City Council for the first two stages of the residential subdivision and the proposed wetland. Subject to a range of approvals, sales and construction are planned to commence in 2023.

Whats happening on site? 

Interim dam repair and maintenance works – complete 

In September we successfully completed the dam spillway repair works to ensure the ongoing safety of the existing dam. We have also removed the CCTV camera which was installed to ensure the safety of the community, our staff and contractors while the repair and maintenance works were underway.

We understand there are ongoing concerns in the community for the Blue-billed Ducks using the dam. Our ecologist attended the site to monitor their well-being multiple times during the works and continues to undertake ongoing monitoring of Blue-billed Duck and other wildlife. You can access the ecological monitoring reports here

Tree maintenance

We continue to undertake regular tree maintenance works across the site to ensure the safety of the community, and those who are accessing the site. These works will be guided by assessments undertaken by our expert arborist and ecologist. 

A vibrant new neighbourhood in Knoxfield


19.2ha project area

10% affordable housing proposed

1 mixed use area for small retail & community spaces

Timeline

2018
2019
  • First phase of community engagement - four focus groups held to understand the community's needs and wants for Knoxfield
2020
  • Draft master plan developed by project and consultant team, incorporating community feedback
  • Community engagement seeking feedback on the draft master plan
  • Community working group established 
2021
  • Planning application lodged for stages 1 and 2 subdivision and the wetland area
2022
  • Ongoing repair and maintenance work to the dam
2023
  • Sales and construction of initial stages, subject to approvals
  • Subdivision lodgement of following stages 

What we are doing

The site will deliver a diverse range of housing options close to jobs, services and transport. Housing will primarily be medium density townhouses with a range of two to four bedrooms.

It will also offer mixed-use development opportunities to benefit local residents, businesses and the wider community.

We are committed to: 

  • Delivering a minimum 10% affordable housing product for moderate-income earners.  
  • Offering up to 5% of dwellings for purchase to a Registered Housing Association  
  • Participating in the Homes for Homes scheme which allows a voluntary tax deductable donation of the sale of participating homes towards building homes for individuals in need of shelter. 
  • Committing to the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star Communities rating tool for the site. Green Star Communities aims to provide national consistency and a common language around the definition of best practice sustainable communities.
  • Working towards delivering best practice and carbon neutrality across the site.  
  • Partnering with the Green Building Council of Australia to pilot its new Green Star Homes standard on the site. The standard is a key tool to drive transformation in the residential sector and create a market for healthier, more resilient, energy efficient homes.

We have a proven track record of delivering enhanced and thriving waterbodies throughout Victoria.

 

Central to the Knoxfield development will be an improved wetland area with an enhanced habitat for the endangered Blue-Billed duck and other local species. Learn more about the wetland. 

Location

The Knoxfield site is superbly  ideally located to local amenities and transportation with easy access to Burwood Highway and the Monash Freeway - as well as key bus links. It neighbours Fairhills High School and is within close proximity to a number of schools and TAFE campuses, the site offers excellent educational opportunities for local families. 

Importantly, the site provides direct access to Blind Creek with excellent pedestrian and cycle pathways to local amenities. Our goal is to embed these links within the site to create a connected and pedestrian friendly neighbourhood.  

Who to contact about this project

For more information about the project, community events or to provide feedback please contact us at
knoxfield@development.vic.gov.au or phone 03 8317 3400.

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Community engagement

Since announcing the project we have engaged with the local community in relation to the development of the Knox Central Structure Plan, the rezoning of the Knoxfield site and Development Victoria's masterplan proposal.

In mid-2019 four focus group sessions were held, followed by pop-up information sessions in late 2019 to help understand views and aspirations for the site. Representing a diverse sample of residents, 48 participants highlighted key themes for consideration in development of the site, including:

  • Enhance existing flora and fauna 
  • Improve public access to the new wetland with pathways, seating and viewing platforms 
  • Consider bike paths to Blind Creek 
  • Manage traffic and parking and consider a second entry/exit point into the site 
  • Deliver affordable, quality housing with a focus on sustainable design 
  • Consider the needs of downsizers and the elderly in housing design 
  • Deliver green, leafy open spaces with high levels of amenity including native trees and grasses.

We took this feedback on board to enhance the draft masterplan and design a neighbourhood that best meets the community’s needs.

In 2020 we sought feedback on the draft Masterplan through online community workshops and an online survey. 

We established a community working group (CWG) to play an important role in shaping the new neighbourhood and delivering a great outcome for the site. The responses and comments collected are now being incorporated into the draft master plan that will guide the future development. 


A Thriving New Wetlands for Knoxfield

We've been working with a team of experts to develop the design for our new wetlands, to provide a safe and healthy future for local wildlife - including the endangered Blue-Billed Duck.

Hear from the team about the plan for a better habitat and open spaces for the whole community to enjoy.

Find out from our experts how we are transforming the existing dam into a thriving new wetland to mitigate flooding and provide stormwater treatment to help improve the health of our waterways.

Blue-billed Duck update

After receiving reports in early 2021 of Blue-billed Duck breeding on the dam our ecologist, Ecocentric Environmental Consulting, has since visited and pleasingly confirmed the presence of a Blue-billed Duckling on the site. Since undertaking regular assessments of the site in 2014, this is the first recorded evidence of a Blue-billed Duckling at the existing dam.

Our ecologist has continued to monitor the site and in early 2022 reported additional Blue-billed Duck sightings. We will continue to attend the site to monitor the behaviour of the duckling and ensure there are no works being undertaken on site which could impact any potential duck breeding. The full ecological reports are available in the resources tab.

Background to Wetland Design

There’s been lots of interest in our proposed wetland at Knoxfield and what it will mean for the community and the environment.

When we first started our master planning for the Knoxfield project our first consideration was to try to keep the existing dam as we knew it was significant to the community. Importantly, we knew it was already home to a number of different species including the Blue-billed Duck.

We asked expert ecologists and hydrologists to review the existing dam and the options available. We asked them to consider community safety, the ecological and environmental contribution of the dam and other features required by the development. The advice was clear and recommended the removal of the unsafe existing dam and the development of new wetlands to enhance the current habitat for fauna to provide an accessible and safe experience for the community. The proposed wetlands design was also recommended to mitigate flooding and provide stormwater treatment to help improve the health of our waterways.

One thing is clear and that is our commitment to deliver wetlands which will be good for the community and the environment, protect and enhance the natural habitat, including that of the endangered Blue-billed Duck, and provide safe access for the community.

We want to give the Blue-billed Duck and other species the best opportunity to thrive on site. To achieve this, the new wetlands have been designed with the ducks at front of mind, backed by comprehensive advice of experts in this area.

 View the supporting background reports.

It should be noted that regardless of the Knoxfield Development the dam will still need to be drained to facilitate the necessary repairs to allow it to remain onsite. 

The new wetland

Central to the new Knoxfield community will be a new wetland area with enhanced habitat for wetland flora and fauna.  It remains our priority to enhance the natural habitat for the endangered, Blue-billed Duck to entice the species to stay and breed at the wetland. 
The proposed new wetland is expected to significantly improve the water quality, and in turn improve the available breeding and nesting habitat for the Blue-billed Duck. This breeding habitat is currently limited on site. The new wetland will provide a healthier and safer waterbody for the Blue-billed Duck and other wildlife. 

Wildlife transition

Download the five-stage construction process here.

Carefully staged construction will enable vegetation to be established in the new wetland prior to any works on the existing dam. This will also allow the wildlife currently using the existing dam to transition to the new wetland during the overall construction process.

Once construction of the new open wetland at the northern end of the site is finished, technical experts will, where possible, carefully relocate the flora and aquatic species from the current dam to the new wetland. Allowing the vegetation in the new wetland to establish first will also enable water birds currently using the site to relocate to the new wetland.

As the Blue-billed Duck is a shy species it is not certain it will migrate to the new wetland within the 12- month transition period and there may be a gap in its presence from the site. 

The wetland however has been designed with the Blue-billed Duck in mind, particularly providing better breeding habitat and we do expect its ultimate return when the wetland matures.

The new wetland will be developed through a staged redevelopment with construction of open water habitat in the northeast of the site prior to any redevelopment of the dam for Water Sensitive Urban Design treatment systems and provision of Blue-billed Duck breeding habitat. Development Victoria will work closely with an expert team, as well as other industry experts and the community where possible, to ensure the timing of construction and the establishment period is appropriate.

A new neighbourhood coming to Knoxfield


We’re working with four of Victoria’s leading builders to deliver a range of high-quality, sustainable and affordable homes to suit the needs of the community:

  • 416 townhomes with a mix of two storey, two, three and four bedroom floorplans
  • A range of designs to suit a wide variety of budgets and lifestyles
  • An emphasis on quality design, materials and landscaping, with all homes positioned a short walk to green open spaces, walking paths and the new wetland
  • Off-street parking provided for each townhome via secure lock up garages
  • All homes will be fully electric and include a range of sustainable inclusions as standard, such as solar PV systems and double glazing. This ensures they’re water efficient, more resilient to climate change, cost efficient to run and better for the environment.

In addition to our sustainable inclusions, we’ll have a number of Green Star Homes on offer. These homes will be the first of their kind from Development Victoria, as part of our partnership with the Green Building Council of Australia. The Green Star Homes will provide an even higher level of sustainability, energy efficiency and comfort, meeting the new standard set by the Green Building Council of Australia. 

Priority access

Eligible buyers will have access to Priority Access, Development Victoria’s affordable housing commitment. Priority Access provides households that earn less than $132,030 per year with a 7-day exclusive period to purchase a home, before they’re made available to the general public. 
The new neighbourhood being created in Knoxfield will offer residents the perfect blend of connectivity, amenity, and accessibility to a range of options such as retail, education, parks and nature, health and transport.

Knoxfield frequently asked questions

    Development Victoria propose a vibrant new neighbourhood with a diverse range of housing, an improved wetland area, public open spaces, recreational facilities and a mixed-use precinct. The new neighbourhood will reflect Knox’s character and will be integrated with the surrounding community.

    Development Victoria has lodged the first subdivision planning permit application for the residential area with Knox City Council for consideration. The planning permit application for the proposed wetland has also been lodged.

    The Masterplan provides approximately 416 homes that will be designed and built by a number of different townhouse builders, providing a diverse range of product for local community living. A mix of homes will be delivered comprising of a range of two to four bedrooms, that are up to three storeys in height. The Masterplan has allocated at least one off-street car parking space for each townhouse as well as on-street parking.

    Development Victoria has made a commitment to delivering up to 10 percent affordable housing that is appropriate for the housing needs of Victorians on moderate incomes.

    The Masterplan provides for a signalized intersection along Scoresby Road at Applegum Crescent, and a proposed second entry/exit point along Burwood Highway, adjacent to the mixed-use precinct area. This proposed second entry/exit point has been included in response to community feedback relating to traffic congestion and access concerns.

    While the second entry/exit point is yet to be approved, Development Victoria will continue to advocate for its inclusion with Council and VicRoads, the statutory road management authority.

    Detailed traffic impact assessments have been completed by specialist traffic engineers. These assessments have informed the design of the road network in the masterplan and entry/exit points to the development. They are detailed in the Traffic Management Report which is one of the documents supporting the planning permit applications.  

    The Knoxfield development will incorporate world-class, leading sustainability practices. Development Victoria has committed to the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star Communities rating tool for the site. Green Star Communities aims to provide national consistency and a common language around the definition of best practice sustainable communities.

    Development Victoria is also partnering with the Green Building Council of Australia to its new Green Star Homes standard on the site. The standard is a key tool to drive transformation in the residential sector and create a market for healthier, more resilient, energy efficient homes.


    The current timeline expects sales to commence in 2023, subject to change. Register your details to be kept up to date on the project by emailing knoxfield@development.vic.gov.au.

    Head to the resources page for more information about the project.

    The wetland frequently asked questions

    Development Victoria originally looked at delivering the housing development around the dam as this would provide the best protection to the dam’s existing habitat. Unfortunately, once the dam was assessed by expert hydrologists, it was found that:

    • It was structurally unsound with leaks and cracks in the dam wall detected. 
    • The banks are too steep. Waterbodies in residential areas are required to have gently sloping banks so if someone was to fall in, they could safely stand and make their way out. This is not the case with the Knoxfield dam. If someone was to fall in, it could be a potentially very dangerous.
    • The dam does not meet the stormwater management requirements for the site. 

    It is important to note that we have considered all options in making the decision to create a new wetland. Any rectification of the dam’s significant structural issues would still result in significant draining of the dam and completing earthworks which would result in the subsequent loss of the dam’s habitat.

    Given there is no future scenario where the dam habitat can be protected, Development Victoria has designed a new wetland that meets safety criteria for the dam’s steep banks, meets the design requirements for flood and storm water management and provides better nesting and breeding habitat for water birds including the Blue-billed Duck.

    The new wetland will provide:

    • an enhanced habitat for water birds, including the endangered Blue-billed Duck, resulting in a better overall environmental outcome for the area.
    • an improvement to the water quality and available breeding habitat for local species through targeted planting which is currently absent at the existing dam. This includes planting dense vegetation and reed beds with the Blue-billed Duck in mind.
    • a range of settling, sedimentation and water retention ponds to treat stormwater, mitigate flooding and protect Blind Creek.
    • an area that is safe and not at risk of collapse which is a high likelihood for the existing dam.
    • a safe public pathway through the wetland to Blind Creek which will create a new recreational link to the area that is safe for people and wildlife.

    Due to its age and original construction the dam is structurally unsound, with leaks and cracks in the dam wall detected. While this can be repaired in the short term, fixing the structural issues long term would require the dam to be drained which would significantly impact the dam’s existing habitat, including the loss of Blue-billed Duck nesting habitat.

    The repairs to the structural problems with the dam will have to occur regardless of the future use of the site meaning the loss of habitat is ultimately unavoidable.

    Given there is no future scenario where the dam habitat can be protected, Development Victoria designed a new wetland that provides better nesting habitat for water birds including the Blue-billed Duck and meets the safety and flood and stormwater management requirements for the site.

    The existing dam has a small area which is 4 metres deep however the majority of the dam averages around 1.5-2 meters in depth, including steep banks which are very unsafe for the local community if anyone were to fall in.

    The proposed new wetland design is larger than the space of the existing dam and will consist of three key waterbodies with a water depth up to two metres. The largest of these is being specifically designed for the Blue-billed Duck and meets Melbourne Water’s requirements for wetlands depth. It will also be made safe for the public with battered edges which will provide a gentle slope into the dam.

    Construction of the new wetland will occur in a staged manner, providing continual access to a waterbody for wildlife currently using the existing dam. The current dam will remain in place for approximately 12 months after the new wetland is built to ensure that the planting in the new wetlands is well established.

    After the first phase of the improved wetland is established, the existing dam will be partially filled and redeveloped as part of an overall water retardation, filtration and habitat system. The proposed staged construction plan for the wetland can be viewed here

    The wetland will be delivered in stages to ensure there is always a significant body of water on site for the Blue-billed Duck and other species.

    During the staged construction, we will continue to monitor the behaviour of the Blue-billed Duck and other species. Decommissioning of the existing dam will commence after we have seen sufficient establishment to support the existing water bird species. This will be guided by our expert ecologist. We will take all steps to ensure there is always a significant body of water on site for the Blue-billed Duck and other species.

    No. When Development Victoria first acquired the site, we looked at designing the housing development around the dam to provide the best protection to the dams existing habitat and be the most cost effective.

    However, due to the structural issues with the dam, we had to design a new wetland that meets safety criteria for the slopes of the dam’s banks, meets the design requirements for flood and stormwater management and provides better nesting habitat for water birds including the Blue-billed Duck.

    Read a detailed wetland FAQ here. You can also read a range of technical reports including ongoing ecological monitoring reports of the existing dam on the resources page.

    Feedback received in 2019 was compiled and considered along with a range of technical and environmental investigations to develop a draft Masterplan for the site. The draft Masterplan will be used to guide how the new neighbourhood will be developed in the future.

    Development Victoria has also met with key community groups over a number of years to listen to their views and desires to maintain the existing dam on the site. Throughout this period, we have endeavoured to explain the structural issues with the dam and the limitations this placed on saving the Blue-billed Duck habitat.

    We understand the importance of this site to the community which has become home to a range of vulnerable species. It is our continued commitment to work with the local community on the final design of the wetland and public areas so it can meet the community’s desires for a healthy, vibrant wetland that can support a range of wildlife, including the Blue-billed Duck.

    For more information about the project and to register for house sales please contact us at knoxfield@development.vic.gov.au

    Updated on 21 October 2022