AN ADVISORY committee will provide advice on plans for a bypass of Horsham.
A spokesman for Planning Minister Richard Wynne said the committee would be selected based on skills and experience and would provide a report to Mr Wynne for consideration.
The spokesman said the committee would work to ensure the views of Horsham Rural City Council and the community were considered but the committee would not have decision-making powers.
It will be formed as VicRoads calls for a planning scheme amendment.
Regional director Western Region, Mal Kersting, said the VicRoads’ preferred route Option D – that creates a connection between the Western Highway and Gatehouse Road to the east of Horsham with a Henty Highway intersection – was the subject of the amendment.
He said the amendment called on the council to set aside land for the proposed bypass.
He said the advisory committee would consider the amendment request to complete the planning process for the bypass.
VicRoads, Mr Wynne and Roads Minister Luke Donnellan’s offices would not elaborate further on the nature of the amendment.
Mr Kersting said the roads authority had worked with the Horsham community to develop a bypass plan since 2009.
VicRoads will meet with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Horsham Rural City Council soon to discuss the next steps.
Horsham Rural City Council technical services director John Martin said the council had told Mr Wynne and Mr Donnellan that it would continue to support a bypass of Horsham – but did not endorse or discount any route options. He said the council’s knowledge on the advisory committee was limited.
But he said the views of the council and the community should be considered.
“We understand the committee will take on community and stakeholder views. But we don’t know the terms of reference or who the committee is going to be,” he said.
“My understanding is the committee is only a preliminary position and formal processes haven’t been done.”
Mr Donnellan wrote to Mr Wynne seeking in-principle support for the amendment, which VicRoads must lodge with the department.
“We’re getting on with planning the long-awaited bypass, which will improve safety and freight efficiency for the Western Highway,” he said.