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SOMERVILLE UPDATES - MARCH 2024

PRE CHRISTMAS

Over the Christmas period we posted the following wishes on our website that we passed onto Santa when he was in town for Santa comes to Somerville-:

·       Zoe McKenzie to successfully add Somerville to the Peri-Urban Mobile Program (PUMP) to boost mobile phone connectivity in Somerville in 2024.

·       Paul Mercurio to successfully add the Somerville Roundabout to the list of projects to be planned by the State Government in 2024.

·       Kate Roper to successfully add badly need works and beautification projects for Somerville in the 2024 year Mornington Peninsula Shire Budget.

 

POST CHRISTMAS

 

The Group have been working hard since the break and we are pleased to report the following updates on the above and other projects that will help us achieve the purposes of our Group-:

• To represent the views of the Somerville Business Community and provide a collective voice of ideas, activities and issues that will enhance the Town Centre.

• To develop positive relationships between businesses, Community and Council.

• To Promote Somerville as a great place to Shop, Work, Invest and Play for all relevant stakeholders.


SOMERVILLE ROUNDABOUT


We wrote to Paul Mercurio’s office on 26th September 2023 and followed up with an email on 9th March 2024 to Paul and Renee Heath as to the progress of the Roundabout. Vic Roads information states that Average Daily traffic movements are 11 000 vehicles per day including 900 trucks.

We received an immediate response from Paul’s office “As discussed, we have put in a budget bid. Given the state of the budget it will be tight, but it is something Paul is advocating for and will continue to do so.”

This is great news, and we hope for a successful outcome.

Given this was one of our very first objectives way back in July 2021, we will continue to advocate to make this happen in Somerville and enhance the Town Centre.

The State Budget will be handed down on Tuesday 7th May 2024, so we are expecting a further positive response.


PUMP PROGRAM


The second round of the Peri Urban Mobile Program is now open. It is great to see that SBG, Rotary Club of Somerville Tyabb and Somerville CFA have already made applications to the program. We have also requested Zoe McKenzie, Paul Mercurio and Kate Roper to indicate their support.

Interestingly Myra from Waveconn rang and indicated that they can put in Mobile phone towers in the purple spot areas in towns like Somerville. Myra then invited us to a Teams Meeting where Myra clearly explained that there is a Telstra tower in Eramosa Road West at the back of the hotel, where the Telstra exchange is. Myra indicated that Telstra do NOT have a tower on the eastern side of Somerville, which gives rise to the dropout rates over the eastern side of town. Optus have 3 towers on the eastern side, including one on Lower Somerville Road, which Telstra could add to, but have not taken that opportunity up. We will contact the owner of the tower to follow this up. Myra was going to contact other landowners to follow up some suitable sites, particularly on the eastern side and in the Somerville Tyabb gap. Myra pointed out that the Webbs lane tower was objected to and will not proceed.

By making our voice heard, hopefully mobile coverage will improve and be better for all businesses on the eastern side and the industrial area.


WAR MEMORIAL LIGHT


Kate Roper in an email dated 27th February 2024 indicated “It will be there well before Anzac Day.” 45 days to go, let’s keep our fingers crossed!!!


BAXTER TO SOMERVILLE SHARED PATH


Our Chairperson Aled Roberts has been following up on the shared path from Baxter to Somerville as part of the wider Peninsula Trails strategy.

Aled asked the following question of the Shire officers with the response in blue-:

“On the Shire’s website the BSSP is listed as a project for delivery in late 2024. – That is correct, the project is proceeding to public tender this financial year with construction anticipated to start in late 2024 and be completed by late 2025. All of these timeframes are subject to Council approval of the tender.”

 

This is positive news that once completed will bring people to the centre of Somerville, whether it be on bike or walking. This will provide opportunities for all businesses around the planned upgrade to the eastern side of the railway line by the Rotary Club of Somerville Tyabb.

 

We thank Councillor Kate Roper for also leading the way on pushing this project as much as possible at Council-:

“Thanks for your patience with the slight delay in the Somerville to Baxter link of the Peninsula Trail. We require extra time for unavoidable fencing needs. We’re working with Metro Trains to limit any further impact. There’s still time to have your say on our draft Peninsula Trail Strategic Plan”. News from your shire – February 2024.

 

EMPTY SHOPS

 

We have been in constant contact with the Ritchies site Leasing Agents Gorman Kelly. SBG have written to over 20 companies outlining the benefits of coming to Somerville and setting up their business. This did lead to 4 responses and one phone call, which were all referred onto Gorman Kelly.

 

Unfortunately, nothing positive has come from this and last week carpenters were dismantling the interior of the site, meaning that Metcash do not see a future at the site, for a Foodworks or other type of Supermarket.

 

Gorman Kelly indicated that the site maybe split up into 3 or 4 smaller shops. The current site is 900 square metres, reducing to 4 shops to 225 square metres. Eventually there will be 4 lots of clienteles coming to these shops. This will require substantial investment from the landlord. Such a refurbishment may take up to 12 months, so businesses in that area need to be aware of these possibilities and plan accordingly.

 

Also, an old favourite maybe returning to the previous Smart Bros/ Tasty Wok site in Frankston Flinders Road…watch this space??

 

There are also empty shops in Eramosa Road East, Frankston Flinders Road and Somerville Central.

 

Hopefully cost of living pressures and interest rates ease and Retail spending and confidence improve in Somerville. The sooner the better.

 

INDUSTRIAL AREA DEVELOPMENTS

 

The first stage in industrial development in Speedwell Street recently opened. Stage 2 and 2A are well on the way to completion totalling 40 new factories.

 

We believe there are a further 40 factories to be built in the same area.

 

That will be 80 new factories in the Somerville industrial area. Hopefully that drives further spending in the retail areas of Somerville.

 

WESTERN SIDE OF RAILWAY LINE

 

SBG are putting forward a Budget bid with Mornington Peninsula Shire Council to update the area opposite the hotel. Basically, it would be a park with seating and a bike rack to allow people to come into the centre of town, relax and enjoy and a coffee.

 

On 29th November 2023 we wrote to Paul Mercurio’s office regarding the gravel car park and “eye-sore” that is opposite Vesbar and the Mechanics Hall-:

 

“We believe that if this "car park" was formalized into a bitumen area it would-:

1.      Allow school children safer access from one side of Somerville to the other linking the pedestrian crossings that are utilized throughout the year over the Stony Point rail line.

2.      Remove the dust that is created throughout the summer and the mud in winter.

3.      Someone must be grading the area and will lead to less maintenance throughout the year (possibly $NIL)

4.      Provide a better defined and safer parking space for the workers on Station Street.

5.      Lead to better outcomes for people stopping in Somerville so they can stop, have a coffee, something to eat and maybe shop in and explore Somerville.”

The response from Paul’s office on 30th November 2023 was as follows-:

“In regards to the VicTrack land and carpark, I’ve requested advice through the Ministers office to understand what VicTrack’s future plans and use for the site is. Once they’ve come back with further information, I will be in touch.

Both of the above are works in progress, we will continue to advocate for them to make Somerville Town Centre a better place to shop, work, invest and play.

 

SMALL BUSINESS SURVEY


The Group is putting together a Survey to understand the needs of Somerville Businesses, further details in the coming months.


COMMUNICATING WITH EACH OTHER


The Group is working with other parties to look at how we all communicate with each other, whether it be social media, the written word or how we speak to each other.


TASTE STAY PLAY Tourism Campaign


We encourage all businesses in Somerville to explore the opportunities in the Mornington Peninsula TASTE STAY PLAY Tourism Campaign. This campaign will run during the Harry Potter Experience at the Briars, which is being held at the Briars in April and May 2024.

The link to the MPSC website is as follows-:

Participation options are flexible – you can offer exclusive Wizardry themed deals, packages, or more traditional offerings such as 2-for-1 deals, discounts, or simply being listed as an official part of the campaign.

For an added touch of magic, you may also consider participating in a wizardry quest across the Peninsula. Imagine a scavenger hunt where businesses become waypoints in a magical journey, encouraging visitors to explore further, businesses interested in being included in the quest would need to provide a special offer.

Participation in the campaign is free; we simply request active promotion on your social media platforms and newsletters, as well as participation in a post-event survey to assess the impact of the event to your business and the local economy.

To be part of the Taste Stay Play Tourism Campaign, simply complete the Expression of Interest  (EOI) form by Friday 15 March, 2024. 


SMALL BUSINESS FESTIVAL


Mornington Peninsula Shire will be running the Small Business Festival during the month of August 2024.

SBG are investigating ways to bring the Festival to Somerville to help local small businesses understand opportunities that can help small businesses and network with other businesses on the day.



 

Please note that all the above communications, policies and decisions take a lot of time and energy to put together. All our members and services are voluntary, but the rewards are great!!

 

Things are discussed at committee meetings and develop from there.

 

Whilst we are a small group, we are always on the lookout for new members.

 

Contact details-:

 

Somerville Business Group email address somervillebusinessgroup@gmail.com

 

Chairperson – Aled Roberts ph: 0409 136 005

 

Publicity Officer – David Livingstone ph: 0409 169 492

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