TWO and a half acres, or about one hectare, of prime Camperdown land is set to go on the market in the coming months after the Uniting Church confirmed the sale this week.
Formerly hosting the church’s own tennis courts and croquet green, the land is bound by Lawrence, McNicol and Barkly streets.
Church councillor Colin Hayman said the land is made up of five half-acre lots and will be sold through an Expressions of Interest process.
“It’s certain to create a lot of interest. It’s a flat piece of land located just two blocks from the main street – it’s a very marketable piece of land,” he said.
“The tennis courts haven’t been used for about 20 years and the croquet green hasn’t been used for about five.
“Since then the land has become a drain on both our finances and resources. We have a contractor who mows the lawns on an as-needs basis and church volunteers do the rest.”
Mr Hayman said previous plans to build in-house aging units on the site were abandoned after a feasibility study showed the project was not viable.
“The church synod in Melbourne carried out the study and recommended that we abandon the project because we would suffer strong financial losses,” he said.
“We then carried out a study to determine what our mission was for Camperdown, Cobden and the wider region and to determine what land and property would be required to deliver those aims.
“The study also looked at how we could best use the land and the finding was that it should be sold.”
Terms of the sale will see 90 per cent of the first $200,000 return to the Camperdown Uniting Church, 60 per cent of any amount between $200,000 and $1million and 40 per cent of anything above.
The money is earmarked for future maintenance of the church, with any interest earned used for operational expenses.
Church minister Frank Tuppin said it was not sustainable to continue the necessary upkeep on the site.
“It’s our view that the money realised from the sale of the land would be better used to forward the mission of our church,” he said.
“We already have some great programs in place, like the weekly community lunch, a kids’ church and a ‘messy’ church program and host Stormco school holiday activities.
“These are all things we want to continue with and there are other initiatives that we might consider as well.”
Rev Tuppin said money channelled from the sale into the Uniting Church synod will also be used for beneficial projects across Victoria and Tasmania and for initiatives such as the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress.
Camperdown Uniting Church Council chairman Bill Duncanson said the sale of the land will provide benefits for the town.
“Any future development will bring more people to the town, which in turn helps keep local businesses alive,” he said.
The church synod will oversee the sale and is in the process of applying for a subdivision through the Corangamite Shire before listing the land with a local real estate agent.
“Someone might come along and buy the whole site and then subdivide it further,” Mr Hayman said.
“We won’t know how it will pan out until the Expressions of Interest come in.”
The land has been in Uniting Church ownership since 1977 and was previously owned by the Camperdown Presbyterian Church.