We are writing today to share another update with you on the proposed school site at Elements.
We want to be transparent with you and reassure all residents that it is still ID_Land’s priority to see a school built at Elements.
ID_Land is passionate about delivering quality education offerings as part of its communities and has a proven track record for securing and delivering schools, as is evidenced at our Amber estate in Wollert and our Willow estate in Gisborne, the latter of which is already under construction and is scheduled to open in 2022.
It is now widely known that the Catholic Education Office (CEO) has withdrawn from its contract of sale to acquire the school site at Elements. As you are likely aware, this has left Elements with a significant land parcel of 9.6 hectares, which is the size that the CEO requested during the initial negotiations. For context, most school sites within metropolitan Melbourne range between 3.5ha and 5ha, meaning the site at Elements is still generously sized for an alternative provider.
A timeline of events for the Elements school site is as follows:
- In 2012/13, the Elements development team met with the Catholic Education Office (CEO), which signalled its interest in acquiring the site. The size of the site was originally earmarked to be 8 hectares, however at the CEO’s request, this allocation was increased to 9.6ha
- In early 2014, the CEO formally submitted its plans at the Planning Panels Victoria hearing for the Truganina Precinct Structure Plan (PSP)
- In late 2014, the Truganina PSP was formally approved by the State Government. This approval saw 1089ha of land re-zoned to the urban growth zone, which included the area in which Elements is located and the 9.6ha of land for the non-government school site
- Since then (from 2014 – 2019), ID_Land has been working closely with the CEO to bring this site to life, given the benefits it would bring the Elements residents and the wider Truganina community
- ID_Land also ran a national sales campaign during this time, which included advertisements in both national and metropolitan newspapers, online and on-site signage.
- After initially signing an intent to purchase the site, and entering into a contract of sale, the CEO has since sadly withdrawn from this agreement, and its position is they no longer wish to pursue the site as part of their schools portfolio
- ID_Land offered to sell the land at a significant discount from the market value, but we were unable to change CEO’s position
- ID_Land has since been unable to find a buyer through non-government school networks. The Elements team is still engaging with a number of other education providers in the hope that a school can utilise the site, however these discussions are ongoing and yet to result in a buyer.
Since the beginning of its extensive campaign in search for an education provider, ID_Land has approached almost 500 different potential school and education providers.
During this campaign, we have continued to work with Council and the State Government in the hope that the government acquires the site for a government-run school. If you are considering how you can help lend your support to finding a school operator for the site, we would urge you to write to your local Member of Parliament, whose contact information is readily available online.
ID_Land understands your frustration at the lack of progress in securing a school operator, and concern over the recent VCAT decision to grant permission to develop the site as residential lots – please know this will be utilised as a last resort only.
Due to the significant costs associated with holding a parcel of land at this size (such as council rates, land tax and mortgage interest repayments), it is no longer feasible to retain a 9.6ha site in perpetuity, which is why ID_Land has sought planning consent for residential lots, and will be releasing small sections of the site accordingly.
In order to still provide adequate opportunity for an education provider to acquire the land, ID_Land will commit to retaining 5.5 hectares of this site for the next 18-24 months at considerable expense, while we continue the ongoing search for a government or private education provider.
We hope this provides some clarity on the current situation with the school site and as always, we are happy to answer any questions you might have via firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will continue to keep you updated on the school site via email, as well as the Elements website and Facebook page.
The Elements team