Ruffell house demolition approved

BENDIGO mayor Lisa Ruffell will be able to demolish a century-old home in a historic precinct against the recommendation of council staff. 

Cr Ruffell and her husband Martin have the title to the home, but Cr Ruffell said their son Michael owned the property. 

Mr Ruffell said his son planned to demolish the Little Breen Street home, built around 1900-1910, and build two units. 

At last night’s council meeting councillors gave the all-clear for the demolition to go ahead, with conditions, despite council staff saying it would impact the Quarry Hill heritage precinct. Cr Ruffell declared a conflict of interest and did not vote. 

Cr Peter Cox voted to refuse a permit, arguing similar homes had been successfully restored. 

“We are the custodians of our history ... 49 Little Breen Street has a heritage overlay,” he said. 

“This can be reinvigorated and be a very important building because it’s at the start of the precinct.” 

Crs Cox and Mark Weragoda voted against the demolition. 

Cr Elise Chapman said she had inspected the property and that there were few original features left. 

“I can’t help but see it’s in between modern buildings,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense to have a building that’s totally wrecked inside.”

Cr Barry Lyons said it was “hardly the doorway of the heritage precinct”.

“This building is a standout that looks out of place,” he said. 

“I believe the street would look 100 per cent better with new buildings.”

Before the meeting, Martin Ruffell said he was not anti-heritage.

“But considering the site’s got the railway yards, which aren’t attractive, modern units, and a modern school building next to it, it really doesn’t have the heritage value left in it,” he said.  

“The house doesn’t have any real redeeming features.

“The house isn’t dilapidated, but my son’s not going to put money into it to up its historic worth.

“It’s not a house worth keeping.”

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