The Mills delayed but not deterred

By JOHN ANDREWARTHA
THE company behind The Mills project at New Norfolk has reaffirmed its commitment that the development will proceed in the face of concerns about the pace of construction at the former Royal Derwent Hospital site. Noble Ventures director Roger Noble told New Norfolk and Derwent Valley News that his company was dedicated to the venture despite some volatility in the building sector.

“We are not changing the use of any of our approved sites at this point and we are still actively selling the next stage, which will be a combination of both house-and-land packages and [residential] land,” Mr Noble said. The Mills master plan includes 700 homes, a 100-bed private hospital, a 100-bed hotel, a state-of-the-art education campus and a childcare centre.

Councillor Matt Hill asked about the status of the project at last month’s Derwent Valley Council meeting after he was approached by ratepayers expressing alarm about delays and minimal building activity at the site. Mayor Michelle Dracoulis said she had spoken with the directors of Noble Ventures last year and had been told that the business remained focused on the development but had stepped away from building houses. “They are going to stick to what it is they do best,” Cr Dracoulis said. “There are a number of building companies that have taken over the spaces that are available … so the project will continue.”

Real estate firm Harcourts has taken over The Mills office at 1 High St, New Norfolk, where those interested in buying residential land or house-and-land packages can get more information about what is available. Harcourts sales representative Mark Brudenell said Ronald Young Builders, Wilson Homes, Cunic Homes and Creative Homes were all offering house-and-land packages, while Harcourts was selling blocks of residential land.

“Ronald Young Builders has already bought some property to build some spec homes,” Mr Brudenell said. He said he was particularly encouraged by a series of government incentives that helped people build new homes. “I’ve just sold a house-and-land package to a gentleman who wouldn’t have been able to purchase without the incentives.”

Mr Brudenell said Harcourts wanted to give prospective buyers comprehensive information about government grants and incentives, what residential land and specific house-and-land packages were available, and a broader understanding of The Mills project.

Mr Noble acknowledged that progress at the site had been slow but that was not unexpected given an increase in building costs and some uncertainty in the construction industry. “Things are very fluid at the moment but we are doing what is required,” he said.

“We remain committed to the hospital, the hotel, the education campus and the childcare centre … and we are committed to New Norfolk. “We love the place even though we are not from there originally. The town captured our hearts and our imaginations when we first saw it. That remains the case.”

Pictured: Real estate firm Harcourts has taken over The Mills sales office at the corner of High and Circle streets in New Norfolk.

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