Sale of laneways

Merri-bek contains many rights of way, commonly known as laneways.

There is a process Council follows in deciding to permanently close and sell a laneway. This process may be started by Council or by a property owner next to a laneway.

If you want to close a laneway temporarily, such as for an event or building works, see temporary road occupation.

If you would like Council to convert an unmade laneway to a made laneway, see construction of unmade laneways for further information about this process.

How to apply to close and purchase a laneway

If you would like to close and purchase a laneway next to your property, you firstly need to determine how it is used.

If the laneway is currently used by cars, cyclists or pedestrians or if it is constructed with bluestone or concrete, Council will not close and sell the laneway.

If this is not the case, then you can apply to close the laneway.

Apply by contacting Council with your request. An application fee may apply.

For more information on the process, download the Rights of Way Associated Policies (DOC 116Kb). Contact Council Property Services on 9240 1111 if you would like to discuss your application.

The process to close a laneway generally takes approximately 12 months to complete.

What happens after you apply

Inspection of the laneway and request for information

Upon receiving an application, Council inspects the laneway and requests information from relevant Council Officers and statutory authorities, such as Yarra Valley Water, to determine if they have any assets in the laneway and if they agree with the proposal.

Council considers a range of factors:

  • location and type of surface
  • access provided to streets, facilities and open space in the neighbourhood
  • use of the laneway by pedestrians, cyclists and cars
  • drainage requirements, and
  • future development that may change the level of access and use of the laneway.

Consultation with property owners

If the relevant authorities agree with the proposal to discontinue and sell the laneway, Council consults with property owners next to the laneway asking for their views on the matter. This is usually done by mailing a survey letter to owners.

Report to Council

If there is general agreement from owners, a report is presented at a Council meeting asking that formal procedures to sell the laneway begin.

Formal submissions

If Council provides consent, the submission is advertised in newspapers and owners next to the laneway can make a formal submission to Council.

Council considers all submissions and makes a final decision to either close and sell the laneway or leave it as is.

Sale of the laneway

If Council decides to permanently close a laneway, the process to sell the laneway begins.

Discontinued laneways are usually offered for sale in equal proportions to those properties next to the laneway.

If a property owner does not want to take up Council's offer to acquire an allotment then that portion is offered to the other adjoining property owner until agreement is reached.

The purchase costs for the land includes the current market value of the land, which is determined by an independent valuer, and administrative costs. The sale of land attracts GST which is payable in addition to the purchase price.