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By Rowan Forster

 The long awaited Pakenham East Precinct Structure Plan hearings have begun, initiated by the Victorian Planning Authority on Wednesday.

Ratepayers will have the opportunity to weigh in on the proposed new suburb, which will encompass 630 hectares of land.

If passed, the amendment would see the land rezoned from green wedge to an Urban Growth Zone, facilitating high-density developments.

While much of the hearing will be held in Melbourne’s CBD, on Thursday 31 May and Friday 1 June, sittings will take place at Cardinia Shire Civic Centre in Officer.

Community groups already scheduled to speak include the Nar Nar Goon Progress Association, Back Creek Land Care Group, Cardinia Ratepayers and Residents Association and the Cannibal Creek Land Care Group.

In a submission from the Cardinia Ratepayers Association, the group downplayed the need for rezoning.

“We do not accept the rationale that there is need for additional housing to be developed in Cardinia Shire at the present time,” president Gloria O’Connor said.

“An independent study conducted earlier this year indicated that there was actually a surplus of housing above requirement in the Cardinia Shire urban growth area.”

Proposed infrastructure items for the new suburb includes three community facilities, four schools, local parks and the provision of two new sporting reserves.

The local hearings will commence at 10am on both days, and will continue at 35 Collins Street next week.

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