Historic Fortuna Villa complaint overturned

MOVING FORWARD: Development of the historic Fortuna Villa site is now one step closer.

MOVING FORWARD: Development of the historic Fortuna Villa site is now one step closer.

A COMPLAINT lodged against a planned Fortuna Villa development has been overturned.

Booth Street resident Rodney Purtill's concerns were overturned by an independent commission, which examined Mr Purtill's zoning complaints.

Mr Purtill previously told the Bendigo Advertiser that his group was worried that Fortuna Villa owner Paul Banks' plans to block access to the site via Marble Street would cause traffic in Booth Street to become congested and dangerous.

But the panel rejected Mr Purtill's concerns, stating in its report, "The panel understands the concerns held by Mr Purtill and other residents but believes that their concerns are overstated and that there are adequate mechanisms in place to address potential amenity issues."

Paul Banks said the commission hearing was a waste of time and money.

"It was another hundred thousand dollars that could have been allocated to the restoration," he said.

"Instead, it was directed into bureaucratic payments for something that never stood a chance."

Mr Banks said the panel findings would be discussed at a City of Greater Bendigo meeting on May 28 and if his rezoning plans were approved by the council then the plans would be passed to Planning Minister Matthew Guy.

He said that once Mr Guy approved his proposal, development of the back of the site could begin.

"Once we have the approval we can concentrate on doing the back, which is a much bigger job," he said.

"We've almost finished the front from a restoration point of view."

Mr Banks said he envisioned the building would open to the public in spring.

He said there would be a cafe on the site, which would be a great breakfast venue.

"It'll be a place where people can take in one of Central Victoria's icons," he said.

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