Residents might lose appeal rights

BENDIGO residents will lose their right to appeal further development at a parcel of land bordering Fortuna Villa, if an amendment is approved. 

If the C204 amendment is adopted and design controls are set, any future community objections will be bypassed, to ensure development near Fortuna can be fast-tracked.

Before any development is approved, "design controls" must be established for the site. 

Any future development will have to comply to these guidelines, even if the block is sold. 

Residents will be able to comment and object at this stage, however once guidelines have been approved, they will no longer be able to appeal. 

The clause is included in the C204 amendment, which is expected to go to an independent panel in March. 

It has been drafted under state government legislation.

City of Greater Bendigo planning and development director Prue Mansfield said this particular process was an attempt to iron out concerns before it got to the fine detail stage. 

"There are many challenges facing developers to bring the site back to life," she said. 

"We need to provide a level of confidence for our investors while also providing an opportunity for residents to have their say. 

"During the process of developing design controls for the site, we will definitely involve residents."

A representative for Booth Street residents, who did not want to be named, said the clause posed serious concerns. 

He is calling on the clause to be removed or modified to reinstate the rights of residents. 

But owner Paul Banks has refused to remove the clause from the amendment. 

"I will not remove it because I want to go forward in a liberal manner without bureaucracy and red tape along the way," he said. 

"I will be living next door to Fortuna and I'm not going to let anything happen that would compromise the villa."

But the representative said he was concerned about the freedom other developers would have over the site, if the package of land was sold in future. 

"Hypothetically they could build almost anything there without us having the right to appeal," he said. 

"And it doesn't just affect us, it affects all Bendigo residents who lose their right to appeal."

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