Bendigo council agenda: What’s coming up in the February 21 meeting

City of Greater Bendigo will consider some significant and often controversial proposals at the council’s ordinary meeting next week.

The futures of the iconic Strathdale property Nanga Gnulle and the Golden Square Swimming Pool will both be discussed at the February 21 meeting.

Meanwhile, the council will consider an application to subdivide a property at Spring Gully and a proposed new gym at Axedale.

They will also look at putting the draft Public Spaces Plan out for comment.

The full agenda can be found at the end of the story.

Nanga Gnulle heritage overlay

Picture: NONI HYETT

Picture: NONI HYETT

The future of Nanga Gnulle at Strathdale will again come before the council, with councillors to consider submissions on a proposed heritage overlay on the property’s main residence.

The planning amendment to apply a heritage overlay received 12 submissions, 10 in objection and two in support.

The proposed heritage overlay would apply to the main house, which is associated with Alistair Knox, who was an influential figure in post-war architecture in Victoria.

The home was designed by Mr Knox’s architectural firm and includes recycled materials including bricks, stone, timber, and architectural features from local demolition sites, including a railway bridge in Axedale and items from the former ANA Hall.

A common theme to submissions objecting to the proposed heritage overlay is that it does not extend far enough: many believe the five-metre curtilage around the building must be larger, and some call for protection to be extended to the gardens or other buildings on the property.

One submission calls for interior alteration controls to be included within the overlay.

Some also voiced dissatisfaction with the planning processes and timeframes.

The council is recommended to request the Planning Minister appoint an independent panel to consider the submissions, and adopt recommendations for each submission as detailed in the report.

If an independent panel considers the submissions, a hearing will follow and council will then decide whether to adopt or abandon the amendment.

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Proposed gym at Axedale

Councillors will consider an application for a gym to be established at a property in Axedale.

Approval is sought for the use of an existing shed at 6 Eddington Street as a gym, as well as the construction of a car park and the display of advertising signage.

The gym would be in operation from Monday to Saturday, with the first classes to begin at 5.25am and the last at 7.15pm.

Classes would be restricted to 10 people and would include Metafit, boot camp, boxing, kid’s fitness, abdominals and core, and open gym, with music to be played.

A V-sign board advertising the business is proposed for the front of the site.

Four objections were received in response to the application, with concerns including the impacts of noise, light spill, traffic and dust, and loss of privacy; hours of operation not being suitable for a residential area; lack of footpaths and sealed roads; and impact on property values, among others.

The council has been recommended to refuse the application, on the grounds that there will be an “unacceptable planning outcome” in relation to the amenity of the area, compatibility with surrounding residential uses, and the purpose of the general residential zone.

Subdivision in Spring Gully

An application for a 28-lot subdivision of a property at Spring Gully will be put before the council next week.

The applicant seeks to subdivide the property at 7 Francliff Avenue into 28 lots and remove native vegetation.

The property is vacant and not used for any specific purpose.

An application was originally submitted in September 2015 but the layout was not supported by council officers.

Two amendments were subsequently made, one in accordance with officer advice and another after the land owner and surrounding residents voiced dissatisfaction with the layout.

There have been eight objections and one petition received in response to the original and most current amended plan, five of which were in response to the amended plan.

These are on the basis of concerns including increased traffic through Joachim Lane, increased noise, loss of biodiversity and wildlife habitat, bushfire threat and evacuation concerns, adverse impacts on the character of the area, and a high density of dwellings, among others.

However, officers recommend the council agree to support a planning permit.

The report to council says the site is well-positioned to provide new housing within the Bendigo Urban Growth Boundary, is within walking distance to parks and shops, and is well-serviced by public transport.

The report also says the layout is consistent with the existing character of the area, and possible environmental and traffic impacts can be managed and mitigated.

Draft Greater Bendigo Public Space Plan

The council will be asked to endorse the draft Greater Bendigo Public Space Plan to go on public display and comment later this month.

The plan is a long-term strategy to guide the planning, design and use of public spaces to improve the city’s liveability.

Council officers say the plan includes the municipality’s rural communities, particularly the small towns, with recommendations for each town precinct.

Among the proposals in the draft plan are increasing tree cover in town centres, open spaces and streets; creating more walkable streets by adding or widening footpaths, reducing excessive areas of asphalt and improving safety at street crossings; create a network of corridors to link communities; and ensuring public spaces dedicated to conservation are large enough to support biodiversity.

The plan should be finalised for adoption by the end of this financial year.

Future of Golden Square Swimming Pool

Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Picture: GLENN DANIELS

The Golden Square Swimming Pool could close, should councillors adopt a recommendation at the meeting.

The report to council says the infrastructure at the pool is approaching or past its expected design life and will need growing maintenance and ultimately replacement.

While the report notes that attendance at the pool has increased since Golden Square Pool Inc took on management in 2013, it says the city has an “over provision” of aquatic facilities.

The proposal has been met with disappointment from the community and a campaign has already begun to save the pool.

The future of the pool has been up in the air for several years.

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