Related: Iconic Bendigo gardens face dozer
The new owner of an iconic Bendigo garden said she understands the grief felt by many in the community who learnt this week the former wedding venue could be subdivided.
But the owner of the property formerly known as Nanga Gnulle – who asked not to be named – said her family bought the 1.9 hectare property in 2014 with the intention of building new homes so the family “could stick together”.
We had initially bought the property to make it a few blocks for the family to build – we wanted to live together or close by each other,"
The owner said the family would not be entirely sure how many members would move onto the new blocks, how many would initially be developed or what the houses would look like until the outcome of a subdivision application lodged with the City of Greater Bendigo was known.
That development application requests the property be subdivided into 15 blocks ranging between 722 square metres and 1484 square metres.
The owner said the family had wanted to keep the gardens – but the idea proved impractical.
“Initially our goal was to keep the gardens, that's why we bought the house in the first place,” the owner said.
“We loved the garden and thought we could build around it and sell some blocks off that have nothing on there, like where the cars used to park.
“But then once those [plans] were drawn up and we sent them to a few developers and we just realised that a garden of that size to then go under common property is just so much work ... and not really viable in the long run.”
She said the land was sold as a private property after no buyers came forward to take on the business.
Previously a different family had run Nanga Gnulle for decades as a cottage getaway and venue for conferences, weddings and funerals.
The new owner said the family had spent thousands of dollars maintaining the gardens since purchasing the property more than two years ago.
Despite the community outpouring over the subdivision plans, the new owners hoped to create a positive future for the property.
“The blocks are going to be large, they're going to be creatively-designed houses that will go on these blocks and they can have nice gardens in the future,” the owner said.
“This is a really good memory for people in the past and I understand that, but I feel like it's just going to be a new beginning and I hope it's going to be a positive one.
I know people are upset about it, but I hope it's a positive change going forward."