Textiles’ future in danger under draft Wangaratta Industrial Land Use Strategy

The textile and clothing manufacturing sector is set to be replaced as Wangaratta’s “defining industry” over the next five years as the city turns its focus to food production and timber.

Councillors will be presented with the draft 2017 Wangaratta Industrial Land Use Strategy at Tuesday night’s meeting, looking into the future of 342 hectares of land north and south of the city.

Businesses such as Australian Textile Mills have been the backbone of manufacturing in the region for many years, but the draft strategy flagged the textiles industry was now “quite small” and others would “ultimately encourage the land to be developed for more suitable uses”.

“The future of the Australian Textile Mills site in Sisely Avenue is particularly challenging due to the nature of existing uses, proximity of residential uses and other strategic issues,” the report stated.

The future of the Australian Textile Mills site in Sisely Avenue is particularly challenging. - Draft Wangaratta Industrial Land Use Strategy

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning last year rejected a plan for a 58-lot residential subdivision on the site because of odour produced by nearby factories.

The council’s draft industrial plan recommended allowing the ATM land to be redeveloped for warehouses as a first priority and help the company conduct expressions of interest.

It found 80 per cent of available land for businesses was in North Wangaratta.

“Food production has a more positive outlook for the city, with animal products, beverages, timber and related supporting services having potential for further growth,” the report stated.

“The need for sustainable industry solutions will see an increase in demand for renewable energy.

“This potential has been confirmed through a proposal for a large solar power plant in North Wangaratta.”

Councillors were advised they needed a “stronger planning framework” if they were going to meet the challenges of high power costs and low demand in the manufacturing industry.

“Council must continue to play an important role in industrial land development if Wangaratta is to capitalise on the many opportunities that could emerge in the future,” the report stated.

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