By Brendan Rees
Bulldozers have finally begun demolish works at the rundown Hampton Park Food Market which had been labelled an “eye-sore“ and a known trouble spot for squatters.
In full view at the long abandoned site, which had been blocked off with temporary fencing, were dumped trolleys, graffiti-strewn walls, and broken chairs, tables, and windows.
Demolition works started on Saturday 6 April at the Hallam Road site and are expected to be carried out for weeks.
In February, Casey Council said it was assessing a planning application for a multi-use development including 117 apartments, shops and offices at the Hallam Road site.
The application has also been referred to VicRoads and Melbourne Water for their approval, council said in a statement.
Councillor Wayne Smith said he was glad the demolition works were finally happening.
“This one got out of hand; went on far too long,” he said.
“They (owners) told us they were going to demolish…in the end they’ve done what they’ve said, and they’ve also got there application in for new development.”
Cr Smith said some members of the community had been “freaked out” by the number of apartments earmarked for the site but said “I don’t really have a view on that; we’ll wait and see what it looks like.”
He said he wasn’t sure where the planning application sat but added council was waiting on “more information.”
“My concerns would be the usual things that associate with that many apartments; you know parking, traffic movements.“
Councillor Damien Rosario was also pleased to see the old building go.
“I’m excited for the future of Hampton Park with hopefully a new development eventually revitalising the site. I encourage the property owner to continue working with council towards this conclusion,” he said.
Priceline manager Lucy Steele, whose store is nearby, expressed her excitement, saying “I think it’s brilliant because there were a lot of people living in there at one stage so it’s just good to have that cleaned up.”
“A lot of people move in the area so it would be good to have something to use,” she said.
Spokesman for the Casey Residents and Ratepayers Association Brendan Browne said they had their concerns with the number of apartments proposed and the lack of access to public transport.
“A little bit of high density can be a good thing but we don’t want to overdo it,” he said.
“It’s not walking distance to the train station and there’s no direct bus to the train station.
“The people in the apartments will be reliant on cars or they’re going to find themselves very isolated,” Mr Browne added.
Casey Council have been contacted for comment.