Fortuna concerns debated by independent panel

CONCERNS surrounding historic Fortuna Villa will be discussed at an independent panel hearing today. 

A unique clause in the C204 amendment - which relates directly to Fortuna Villa - states that once design controls are set for the block of land, the community will no longer be able to object to any future development. 

Once guidelines have been approved, residents they will no longer be able to appeal or object to development. 

The design guidelines will remain in place even if the block of land is sold to another development. 

A representative for Booth Street residents said the objectors were not against development at Fortuna, but said it was a serious concern that residents would lose their right to appeal. 

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

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

His rezoning proposal was referred to an independent panel, which is being held today. 

The meeting will hear submissions regarding zoning issues which Mr Banks said have stalled the project for the past couple of months.

The resident representative said he was not willing to comment before the hearing.

However owner Paul Banks said he was had been delighted with the outcomes of the consultative process.

“There will always be issues and valid perspectives in a project like this which is so important and heartfelt to the community,” he said.

“We have been encouraged by the support of the City of Greater Bendigo, Heritage Victoria and the state government planning department.”

“The sooner we can get the gates open to the public, the better.”

The deliberations of the panel will be duly considered by council and state government. 

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