Community pleads for parks not property 

A recent petition on gained momentum among Box Hill locals, with one clear goal – to turn the Box Hill Brickworks site into a park for the local community to enjoy.  

The Old Brickworks site is fenced off from the public but remains the topic of much discussion among locals. Photo: Sophie Orgill

The petition gained more than 600 signatures in its first two weeks. It focused on the old Box Hill Brickworks Site located on Federation Street, which the Suburban Rail Loop Authority (SRLA) had recently gained control over.  

The SRLA released a Draft Precinct Vision in late November last year which detailed its vision for the Box Hill area, including the site which its had marked for future housing development.  

The instigators of the petition spoke to Dscribe on condition they not to be named, for fear of being targeted by the council.

I have lived in the area for over 40 years and you look around Central Box Hill and you see sporting grounds and netball courts, but you don’t see a lovely tree area with paths and passive open spaces where families and groups can gather and have a picnic,” one said.   

In late February, the head petitioners also dropped more than 100 leaflets in letterboxes on streets surrounding the site to increase the awareness of the SRLA’s objectives.  

There are people in Box Hill that won’t be aware of the Suburban Rail Loop’s plans for the site, and I don’t blame them, they don’t make it clear for people. They are not out there being transparent, because if they made their plans clear, they know people would be opposed,” a petitioner said. “The petition is a powerful way of informing people about plans.”

Others have taken to commenting on the petition to share their disbelief of the plan to have more property development in Box Hill.  

One commenter wrote: “We need to save green spaces in Box Hill – come on council, think of the people, not just the rates!

Another posted: “I have watched this area change over the last 35 years and the loss of even more trees and open space is really concerning. Box Hill council please listen to the people in your community – we don’t want this!”

While the support for parkland is strong, the SRLA recognises the importance of expanding housing options during the current housing crisis.  

“SRL is an incredible opportunity to deliver more diverse, quality and affordable housing in well serviced neighbourhoods where people want to live,” an SRLA spokesperson said.

Countering that view is president of the community-based nursery Box Hill Greenlinks, Robert Jones, who said it was equally importance to have greenery in society.  

“There are so many reasons why parks and nature are important in a community. From an environmental point of view, it’s a habitat for animals but there are also a lot of psychological wellbeing benefits for human beings to have greenery around instead of being in a concrete jungle,” he said.  

The head petitioner of the petition also spoke about where they believe the government’s priorities lie within society.  

There is a real disregard for the need of open space, and they place zero value on mature trees. The state government treat trees and open space as disposable,” they said,

“The approach is that if it is easier for the government authority to cut the trees down, they will cut them down, and they have the power to do that.”

Local MP for Box Hill, Paul Hamer, declined to comment.  

The SRLA’s draft vision paper detailed that it is currently “gathering feedback” which will “inform final precinct visions and draft structure plans”, and the aim is to “finalise and adopt structure plans” in early 2026.   


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