Bendigo councillors make potentially defining decisions on medium-density housing and heritage precincts

BIG CALLS: Bendigo councillors made some important potentially influential, decisions at a council meeting on Wednesday evening. Picture: DARREN HOWE
BIG CALLS: Bendigo councillors made some important potentially influential, decisions at a council meeting on Wednesday evening. Picture: DARREN HOWE

A number of seminal decisions may have been made by Bendigo councillors during an occasionally fiery session in the chambers on Wednesday evening.

Councillors gave the go ahead for Bendigo’s first medium-density housing project – Lansell Crest – voting in favour of a planning scheme amendment that had previously been approved by an independent planning panel. 

The amendment removes an existing dwelling cap of 65 at the East Bendigo site – with the developer seeking to create 104 units – and will be forwarded to the state planning minister for approval.

Related:Green light for Lansell Crest

Councillor James Williams said the site’s proximity to the central business district could help revitalise the area.

“We’ve seen people moving out of the CBD, this is a way of putting people back in that space,” he said.

“Unfortunately some people don’t like it in their backyard but it is a deliberate plan of council. This is the first of a number of developments in the future that will see the city’s construction change.”

Cr Julie Hoskin, speaking on behalf of 100 people who opposed the proposal, said residents feel the development plans are deceptive. 

“I’m not a fan of packing and stacking beehive developments being entertained across Bendigo,” she said.

“It may set a dangerous precedent for the community and be something council might come to regret.”

Councillors, after much debate, also voted to establish five new heritage precincts in the suburbs of White Hills and East Bendigo, in addition to extending two existing precincts.

Sixteen places of heritage significance and three miners cottages will also be protected under the changes.

The heritage study was sent to an independent panel for assessment after originally coming before councillors in May.

Councillors also voted to authorise its chief executive officer to sign a new four-year funding agreement with Bendigo Heritage Attractions.

Related:LIVE: Bendigo council meeting

Funding for the 2017-18 financial year will be $600,000 and this amount will be indexed annually with CPI. Another $450,000 will be provided each year for capital works and maintenance of buildings.

Councillors voted to adopt the outcomes of the Bendigo Urban Flood study 2013, which imposes flooding controls to a number of properties to ensure flooding is considered in development proposals.

Meanwhile, a petition with over 1200 signatures from Epsom Primary School students to have a ‘lollypop person’ stationed at the intersection of Howard Street and the Midland Highway was received by council.

A response will be prepared by the next meeting.