BENDIGO’S historic verandas should be reinstated, according to council staff members, councillors and the president of the Bendigo Historical Society.
The council’s planning department recently asked the owners of the Hopetoun Hotel to rebuild the site’s veranda, but a council staff member said the owners could not meet agreement with VicRoads.
City of Greater Bendigo director planning and development Prue Mansfield said the council was keen for verandas to be rebuilt around Bendigo.
“If it’s a heritage building, we’d support the rebuilding of the original veranda,” she said.
“All the evidence is that one of the things most valued about Bendigo, why people visit, is the heritage look of our city and the retention of the heritage features.”
Ms Mansfield said there was an interest-free loan scheme available to return heritage features and said anecdotal evidence suggested the verandas were removed due to state government building regulations in the 1960s.
Bendigo Historical president Jim Evans said verandas used to extend throughout the city for practical reasons and had become a feature of the Australian streetscape.
“I think they could be brought back right through the city,” he said.
All councillors the Advertiser spoke to yesterday said they’d like to see verandas return to the front of local businesses.
Cr James Williams said the Hopetoun Hotel’s original veranda would add to the street corner.
“They’re just a great bit of heritage the old verandas, which add a lot to the visual impact of the town,” he said.
“Given it’s located next to the lights it would be great to have adequate visuals there.”
Cr Peter Cox said rebuilding the verandas, which happened along View Street, would be “the greatest thing that could ever happen”.
“It would have a huge impact on the heritage and streetscape of Bendigo,” he said.
Cr Rod Campbell said his personal view was the structures had had a wonderful impact on View Street.
“They add a tremendous atmosphere back into the streetscape,” he said.
“If you see photos of View Street 10 or 15 years ago, it’s a wonderful transformation.
“But they have to be an appropriate reinstatement.”
Councillors Helen Leach, Mark Weragoda, Barry Lyons and Elise Chapman said they wanted to see verandas brought back, and Rod Fyffe and Lisa Ruffell could not be contacted.
VicRoads regional director Mal Kersting said the body had indicated it would not object to the Hopetoun veranda plans if the council planning permit addressed road and safety requirements.