Wakefield Park development under threat

The Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s planning department has advised councillors to vote against Wakefield Park's development application



  • Wakefield Park opened in 1994
  • Application for facility upgrades lodged last year
  • Councillors will vote on application next week

The proposed improvement of Wakefield Park Raceway has been thrown into doubt after it emerged the local council is planning to reject the venue’s development application.

Facility owners Benalla Auto Club last year unveiled plans for a major redevelopment, lodging an application with the local council. Proposed upgrades include a new multi-storey pit facility, corporate spaces, and modernised work facilities.

An off-roading area and extra use of a camping ground also formed part of the bid.

Last week park management revealed the Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s planning department had advised councillors to vote against the request on June 22, “largely based on noise and social impact issues”.

Operations manager Dean Chapman strongly refuted the apparent noise issues in a public statement, arguing the case submitted “covers these issues fully and appropriately”.

John Boston, operator of the Wakefield Park-based Trackschool, backed the park’s stance. Blasting the council on Facebook, he said a 2020 agreement with the track’s neighbours make it “probably the most noise-policed venue in the country”.

“Wakefield Park has, I think, bent over backwards with what the neighbours want,” he said.

“Sometimes I believe it doesn’t matter what we say, they just don’t want to listen to us.”

Boston said the council’s rejection would have a severe impact on the local economy. “If we can’t get as many cars to the park, the impact follows on to tyre suppliers, brake suppliers, workshops and all of those things.

“We’re all in the same industry, so it would hurt us immensely.”

Goulburn Mulwaree mayor Bob Kirk this week issued his own statement on the application. While acknowledging the overall revenue injected into Goulburn by Wakefield Park (an estimated $15 million annually) he said “council staff have an obligation to consider all factors and impacts, and then present a report to council for our consideration.”

Both Chapman and Boston are encouraging supporters to sign a petition backing Wakefield Park’s application, which has so far attracted almost 7,000 signatures. The extraordinary meeting will be held in the council’s chambers on June 22 at 5.45pm. Members of the public are invited to attend.

Boston hopes councillors will see the general public’s support for Wakefield Park and vote in favour of approving the upgrades. “When you see the town planners recommend it doesn’t go ahead, you wonder what information they’re being fed, or how much they know about what’s going on.

“We all hope common sense prevails.”

The Raceway was officially opened in 1994 by NSW Premier John Fahey and Formula 1 legend Jack Brabham, rapidly becoming a popular venue for club meets. The facility has since played host to a multitude of high-profile events, including the Shannons Nationals, PROCAR racing and the V8 Supercars Development Series. Last month, the Australian Superbike Championship was a major drawcard.