Sandown redevelopment threat growing – report

A move to rezone Sandown Raceway and have the site redeveloped into 7500 new homes is gaining traction according to a local report.

Sandown redevelopment threat growing – report

The Age newspaper has uncovered details of plans to rezone and redevelop the horse and motor racing venue that occupies 112 hectares of prime real estate in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs.

According to the report, plans to have zoning changed from 'special use' to residential would see the sporting facilities demolished to make way for an entire new suburb comprising of 7500 homes.

The venue has been hosting horse racing since 1888 and motorsport since the early 1960s.

While the threat of redevelopment at Sandown is nothing new, and this particular work has been ongoing for around two years, the report says venue owner the Melbourne Racing Club has now drawn up a formal rezoning plan that will be presented to the Dandenong Council on April 16.

But it may not be welcomed with local arms by the council, Dandenong mayor Angela Long telling The Age she is concerned about a lack of sporting facilities in the area.

“I am a little bit disappointed that the MRC are doing this,” she said. “I would prefer it stay as a sporting venue, whether it’s horse racing or car racing – we’ve got no big stadiums out this way.

“Now they’re getting rid of Sandown we’ve got to travel to Melbourne or the other side of Melbourne to other venues and that’s a shame because out this way it’s a growing population.”

The plan has also raised some concerns from residents who, while not enamoured with car racing, are also concerned about rapid population growth in the area.

“[Motorsport is] not like a constant thing, but when it’s on, it’s loud," local resident Zoe Mohl told The Age.

"I’m within one kilometre as the crow flies, but you can hear it as if it’s just down the street."

Speaking of the proposed redevelopment she added: “The scale they are planning, it’s extreme. We’ll go from having it an empty racecourse now to it being loaded with people.

“If they could cut it in half of the size they are proposing, it would be reasonable. I think they just see the price tag on what they can sell.”

The report adds that Sandown loses the MRC $5 million per year and that selling the venue would help fund the $300 million transformation of the nearby Caulfield Racecourse.

Sandown first hosted the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1965 and has since held more points-paying ATCC/Supercars races than any other circuit in Australia.

It's best known for hosting the traditional Bathurst 1000 warm-up, the Sandown 500, but most recently lost its enduro status ahead of the 2020 season.

It was initially left off the 2021 Supercars schedule before being drafted back in after the Australian Grand Prix was postponed to November.

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