Quarry Hill residents ruffled by decision to demolish

BENDIGO mayor Lisa Ruffell says she had nothing to do with the decision to grant a demolition permit for her century-old home.

The Little Breen Street house in Quarry Hill, built  around 1900 to 1910, will be demolished and replaced with two units after getting approval from councillors on Wednesday night. 

Opinion has been divided over the decision, with people concerned about the loss of heritage and the fact that council staff opposed the plans. 

Nearby resident John Morton said he was concerned a century-old home could be so easily demolished. 

“It’s sad that this is happening to a lot of historic houses in the precinct,” he said. 

“I think people are looking at town blocks now in terms of how many developments they can put on it. 

“Just because there are modern houses and only a few old ones left doesn’t mean you should just take it out.”

Steven Wingrave said the front of the home should be kept as per previous redevelopments. 

“The whole street is getting modernised,” he said. “You buy homes in this area for the old aspects, but there’s not going to be much left.”

Robert Smallpage said he was concerned councillors could “do what they want”.  

Cr Ruffell said while her and husband Martin were on the property’s title, their son Michael owned it. 

“I had a conflict of interest,” she said. “I stepped out of the room and the councillors voted accordingly ... there was no input from me, the councillors made their own decision.

“It’s in poor condition and I don’t think there’s anything worth keeping.” Cr Ruffell said it wasn’t unusual for councillors to vote against staff recommendations. 

“The councillors read the recommendations and didn’t vote accordingly,” she said. “They often don’t accept the recommendations of officers. 

“We’re here to represent the community and have our own thoughts, we make up our own mind.” 

Peter Cox and Mark Weragoda voted against the demolition, with Cr Cox noting the home was part of an historic precinct.

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