Related: Iconic Bendigo gardens face dozer
The decision on whether to approve or reject an application to subdivide an iconic Bendigo garden into 15 new houses will likely not be made until 2017 and could occur behind closed doors.
City of Greater Bendigo statutory planning manager Ross Douglas said the planning department was “currently processing” the development application for the property formerly known as Nanga Gnulle lodged last week.
The roughly 2 hectare Nanga Gnulle gardens were planted in the 1970s and used for decades as a wedding venue, for conferences, funerals and as a cottage getaway.
Mr Douglas said the application had been referred to the relevant servicing authorities and the applicant would be required to give notice of the proposal to adjoining properties.
“A decision on the application is likely to be made in the new year, once the application has been advertised,” the town planner said.
“Objections received will be considered before making a decision on the application.”
If council planners receive three or more objections from affected property owners and are unable to mediate a resolution they are obliged to refer the matter to councillors. Similarly, if they decide to recommend refusal of the application it must be put to a vote at council meeting.
Otherwise the decision to approve the application – with or without changes – would be made within the planning department.
Three figures who may be involved in potential dispute mediation are Eppalock Ward councillors Margaret O’Rourke, Yvonne Wrigglesworth and George Flack.
Cr Wrigglesworth referred questions on the matter to the mayor’s office.
Mayor O’Rourke said she understood community concern but that, at the moment, it was an issue for property owners and the planning department.
“There is a process that owners go through and until such time as it comes across councillors’ desks it is not a council discussion,” she said.
Cr Flack said he also understood community concerns but that a two hectare garden was “a lot of land to maintain”.
“I’m aware and feel disappointed that that may well be the way it goes, that someone wants to develop it when it is such an idyllic setting,” Cr Flack said.
“Unfortunately, over time, this what occurs when the cost of maintaining a facility gets beyond the financial reproach of the owner attempting to keep it going.
“It was a very well-maintained facility over a large number of years, but as people age and sell to others that's where it can become a financially expensive burden.”