At its meeting on 11 August 2021, Council decided to start the process to consider the sale of vacant land next to the Coburg Civic Centre to create a new health and community services hub for Coburg. Read the Council report.
The Coburg health and community services precinct would bring a range of services together, across a campus spanning more than 15,000 square metres made up of community health services, aged care services, a childcare and early learning centre, a short stay hospital, a bulk billed medical clinic, a mental health rehabilitation facility, as well as publicly accessible open space.
The precinct would also create new local jobs and deliver economic benefits to Coburg.
Planning for a health and community services precinct
Council acquired the land on the corner of Bell Street and Pentridge Boulevard in the 1980s and 1990s with the view to create a new precinct.
The site has long been earmarked as a new health and community services precinct for Coburg.
Council has proactively sought to partner with health service providers for the past decade to realise the vision for a health and community services hub to deliver key services for the Coburg community.
The current proposal, from a company called Coburg Health Hub, meets and exceeds the requirements Council set out for the site and presents an exceptional opportunity for Coburg.
History of the proposed health and community services precinct
The vision for the proposed Coburg health and community services precinct has been in place for over a decade.
The Coburg health and community services precinct evolved through a number of community engagement activities, research projects and requests for qualification (seeking businesses or individuals that would be suitable to submit a proposal to deliver a health precinct).
The Coburg Place Framework (structure plan) provides more background information.
Community benefits of proposed health and community services precinct
The proposed Coburg health and community services precinct would deliver:
- New health services community services such as residential aged care, aged care support services (such as home care), NDIS services, early learning and childcare, allied health services along with a new hospital, mental health facility and open space.
- Around 1,000 Local jobs close to home; approximately 350 in the construction phase and over 600 ongoing positions in primary care, aged care, childcare, management, administration and more, at a variety of levels. The health and social services sector is the largest and fastest growing industry in Australia and jobs in the sector offer careers at a variety of levels, particularly for women and those seeking part time hours.
- Economic benefits for Coburg, delivering over $160 million of direct investment to deliver the health and community services precinct, which is projected to bring around $300 million economic benefit for the wider Coburg economy.
Community involvement in planning for a health and community services precinct
The Moreland community have played a part in the planning for a health and community services precinct in Coburg, with a number of previous engagements over the past decade consistently underscoring community support for a health precinct.
What happens next?
Council has completed a public consultation process to ask the community for their thoughts on the sale of the land for the purpose of delivering the proposed Coburg health and community services precinct. Submissions closed at 5pm Saturday 18 August 2021.
Council will hold a Hearing of Submissions, a public meeting of Councillors, on 7 October 2021. Interested members of the community will be able to present their views at this meeting.
A report will go back to Council towards the end of 2021 presenting all feedback from the community and stakeholders.
Council will consider the report before they make their final decision on whether or not to sell the land.
Frequently asked questions
Coburg health and community services precinct proposal
- It is a proposal from a company called Coburg Health Hub (CHH) for a campus-style health hub
- Services would include community health services, aged care services, a childcare and early learning centre, a short stay hospital, a bulk billed medical clinic, a mental health rehabilitation facility, as well as publicly accessible open space.
- The proposed site is on vacant land next to the Coburg Civic Centre on the corner of Bell Street and Pentridge Boulevard.
- The demand for health services is high.
- The health and community services sector is Australia’s largest and fastest growing employer.
- The main benefits described in CHH’s proposal are:
- New health and community services: locally delivered services such as acute and primary health care, rehabilitation, mental health, childcare, residential aged care, aged care support services (such as home care), and NDIS services
- Benefits to the local economy including $160 million of new direct investment to deliver the health precinct and $300 million of projected benefit to the local Moreland economy
- Around 1,000 jobs in the construction and operational phases of the project
- New high quality publicly accessible open space
- CHH predict that their proposal would create around 1,000 jobs.
- Around 350 of these would be in the construction phase
- Over 600 ongoing positions would be created in health and community services such as jobs in primary care, aged care, childcare, management, administration, etc., at a variety of levels.
- The health and social services sector employs the most Moreland residents.
- Jobs in this sector tend to particularly benefit women, and part-timers.
- No rate revenue rises would be needed to fund this project.
- The delivery of the health precinct would be funded by Coburg Health Hub.
- Any money raised through selling the land for this purpose would be put back into other Council activities, projects and/or facilities.
- A precinct of the type and scale, involving well over $100m of upfront investment, and complex partnership arrangements with health providers, is not something that Council would be able to deliver on its own.
- Since setting the strategic vision for a health precinct for the community in 2010, Council has worked to find a suitable partner who could deliver this outcome for the community.
- Then this particular proposal would not go ahead.
- Council can consider future opportunities for uses of the site, but these would take a long time to develop and realise.
- The State Government has consistently advised Council that provision of a public hospital within Moreland cannot be supported, and they do not plan to build one.
- CHH advise that their proposal would see a mix of public health and community services, alongside private health services.
- The current option being considered by Councilis to either proceed with this proposal, or not to proceed.
Community involvement in decision making
- Yes. The Colours of Coburg Place Framework, which Council adopted in 2010 following extensive community consultation, sets out the vision for the delivery of a health precinct on the site.
- The Council has made several attempts over the past decade to realise this vision. <add anchor link>
- Yes. If Council decides to begin the public process, there will be a 28-day consultation period in which the community will be invited to submit their views about selling the land for the purpose of delivering the proposed health and community services precinct.
- Interested members of the community would also be able to present their views at a Hearing of Submissions, a public meeting of councillors, in October. All submissions from the community would be compiled and presented to Council, and Council would consider these before they make their final decision.
The Bluestone Cottage and the Coburg Historical Society
- The Bluestone Cottage and the separate kitchen and laundry building is heritage listed and, under any scenario, it is, and will remain, protected by strong heritage protections in Victoria.
- The cottage is currently leased by Council to the Coburg Historical Society.
- Council is exploring options to retain ownership of the Bluestone Cottage, separate kitchen and immediate surrounding land with a view to the Coburg Historical Society remaining as its custodians into the future.
- The cottage is, and will remain, protected by the strong heritage protections in Victoria.
- Any plans to restore the cottage would have to be appropriate and sympathetic to the cottage’s importance and would be subject to strict heritage approvals.
- If the proposal goes ahead, CHH have committed to the highest possible standards of heritage practice, including working closely with the Coburg Historical Society and heritage specialists including Heritage Victoria, on interpreting the heritage value of both the cottage and the surrounding site.
The discussions to retain the Historical Society on site happened after CHH came to us with their original proposal. Council asked CHH if they would be prepared to commit to retaining the Historical Society, and they agreed to this, after this plan was drawn.
- The consultation process will take place in August and September 2021.
- Interested members of the community will also be able to present their views at a Hearing of Submissions, a public meeting of councillors,on 6 October.
- Council will make a final decision on the sale of land towards the end of 2021.
- Should Council decide to sell the land, construction is estimated to begin in 2023, subject to the granting of a planning permit.
- If Council decides to proceed with a public consultation process on the proposed health and community services hub, this phase of consultation will be for at least 28 days.
- Information will be available on Conversations Moreland from the week beginning Monday 16 August for a minimum of 28 days.
Traffic and car parking
- The site is mostly used by Council staff for both formal and informal parking, as well as a small number of public car parking spaces.
- Coburg Health Hub would be required to provide adequate public car parking on site for all new facilities they deliver.
- Council would also require them to provide some of the staff car parking that would otherwise be lost.
- It is intended that any changes to car parking arrangements would prioritise community members using the Town Hall, and particularly those with mobility issues, to ensure they are not disadvantaged.
- Whilst there would inevitably be new visitors to the area if the health precinct goes ahead, the impacts to individual streets would not be understood until the design stage of the project.
- During the design stage, Coburg Health Hub would be required to undertake detailed traffic management plans to show how this would be managed effectively, as is the process with any large project.
- More information, and the Council report setting out the proposal can be found here.
- Information will also be available on Conversations Moreland from the week beginning Monday 16 August for a minimum of 28 days.
- Should Council decide to begin the consultation process, it is also intended to hold an information drop-in session in early September. Details will be shared with the community and provided on this page when they are available.