Sporting clubs which face losing their playing fields because of the proposed North East Link could be thrown a lifeline by a golf course redevelopment in Bulleen.
A venture between Linked Solutions and course owner Bruce Matheson aims to turn the Yarra Valley Country Club site into a housing estate.
But the partners are also offering to give some of the old fairways to the community.
Up to 18ha could be handed to either the state or Manningham council for use as playing fields. Three soccer clubs are keen to take up the offer, if approved, on the site between the housing and the Yarra River.
Templestowe United, Manningham United and the Veneto Club — home to FC Bulleen Lions — are all backing the plans.
Templestowe United will be hardest hit because Bulleen Park will be the site of a tunnel entrance linking to the Eastern Freeway.
All clubs are struggling for playing field space with growing junior memberships.
Club secretary John Biondo said the club was “maxed out” with 500 kids and more space was desperately needed.
Veneto secretary Frank Freschi said the club used Bulleen Park too, and open space in Manningham was scarce.
“We can’t get enough parks where the kids can play soccer,’’ Mr Freschi said.
Linked Solutions executive director Charles Pick said the proposed land gift provided the opportunity for more sports fields.
“There’s real potential here for the state and local government to increase the supply of badly needed sports pitches. It can act as a pressure valve release to the North East project and the longstanding problems with providing soccer fields in Manningham,” said Mr Pick, a former Manningham mayor.
The golf course estate plans also provide a missing link for the Main Yarra Cycling and Walking Trail, which is blocked by the golf course, as well as improved water run-offs and improvements to Templestowe Rd.
The housing estate will have 216 two and three-storey townhouses, Mr Pick said.
“It will bring to life public benefits along the Yarra River for the enjoyment of both residents and the wider community.”
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