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Slater and Gordon is assisting owners of a Hampton Park nursery following VicRoads’ compulsory acquisition of a portion of its land as part of the Hallam Rd widening project.

Family business Diacos Discount Nursery and Garden Rock Supplies has been servicing Melbourne’s south east for more than 15 years and employs more than 20 employees.

Unfortunately, VicRoads has compulsorily acquired 2,352 square metres on the six acre site to expand the road in front of it, restricting the entrance and exit of the Hallam Rd property to left turn only – severely impacting access to the business.

A private road study, commissioned by the business, found that on a weekly basis, 52.2 per cent of traffic (1,016 vehicles) entered or exited the site - located near the corner of the South Gippsland Highway – by a right hand turn.

Anthony Diaco, who manages the business with his father Vince, said while they understood why the government wanted to widen the road, it would severely damage the business.

He said the proposed road configuration will result in a lengthy alternate route for traffic that would otherwise have accessed the nursery with a right-hand turn.

“This is going to impact us significantly, our business is predominantly retail - not trade – so access is crucial to us,” Mr Diaco said.

“We will be compensated for the loss of land but our primary concern is how this is going to impact our business.

“We serve up to 1,800 customers a week and we are almost certainly expecting to see that number drop once these works are done.

“If half of our customers have to take an inconvenient detour to reach us, you can only imagine what it will do to our business.

“We have approached VicRoads with suggestions as to how our right hand access might be maintained, but they have been unwilling to compromise and have said we will just have to make a claim for compensation.”

Slater and Gordon Senior Associate Peter Boyle said he was working to ensure the business received appropriate compensation for the impact of the road widening, but his client’s preference was for VicRoads to amend the design so a compensation claim for business losses would not be necessary.

“We should be doing all we can to protect and support local family businesses like Diacos because they are extremely important to the community,” Mr Boyle said.

“There have to be better ways to design projects so as not to leave people stranded with half a property and half a business.”

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