By Bonnie Malkin in Sydney; 21/07/2008
Australia is to get its first gay-only retirement village.
Linton Estate in Ballan, an hour's drive from Melbourne, is billed as a haven for ageing homosexual men, lesbians and the transgendered.
Moorabool Shire council approved plans for the project last week, despite four objections from local residents.
Construction of the The estate will feature 120 two and three-bedroom apartments, a tennis court, bowling green, open-air theatre and a multi-million dollar leisure centre with a pool, spa, gymnasium, cafe, restaurant, piano room and business centre.
Managing director and major shareholder Peter Dickson said the village filled a gap in the market.
"Whether we're in a relationship or whether we're single, we want to be surrounded by friends," he said.
"I wanted Linton Estate to be different to other retirement facilities and this has now come about.
"It's a wonderful achievement for all."
Dianne McAuliffe, mayor of Moorabool Shire, said the council's decision was based on the merits of the development, not the sexual orientation of its occupants.
"We don't go into the nuts and bolts of who's going to be living (there) with any of the applications we look at," she said.
The estate is located near Daylesford, which has one of the largest homosexual populations in rural Australia.
£12.7 (AU$26 million), development will begin early next year.