A "PREMATURE" Bendigo CBD plan's release would ignore the economic contributed heritage makes to the city, a National Trust branch fears.
The Bendigo City Centre Plan could be released next Wednesday if City of Greater Bendigo councillors green-light public consultations.
The National Trust's Bendigo branch wants the release postponed until a separate heritage study is released and finalised, president Peter Cox said.
"The National Trust branch has been requesting the release of the CBD heritage study for over 12 months but it has not been completed after three years," he said.
"While council is requesting a formal 28 days for submissions from the community on the plan, it needs to be postponed until the CBD heritage study is considered by all."
There are about 300 buildings in the centre of Bendigo that might be considered as heritage, but exact numbers are not known, Mr Cox said.
"A Bendigo and Eaglehawk study done in 1993 would have incorporated some buildings in the CBD into its numbers, but they were very few.
"This (current heritage report) is a much more comprehensive study of heritage in the CBD."
More on the Bendigo City Centre Plan
Bendigo's heritage is a major point of difference with many other Victorian towns, Mr Cox said.
"It is the reason why people want to visit and permanently live in such a 'good feel' city," he said.
A report to councillors ahead of Wednesday's council meeting states that the city centre's heritage value should not be compromised or undermined by the retention of every building simply because they "are old or nice".
Mr Cox said there was a rigorous process for any building listed.
"Having a heritage overlay on a site is part of the debate that should come from the heritage study," he said.
"These things are not made lightly and everyone has a chance to have a say on what buildings should be listed, including the owners."
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The council report indicated existing buildings would need to be considered in the context of the quality and quantity of already protected examples.
"In some circumstances it will be much more important to facilitate a good redevelopment to ensure that the city centre can continue to function well into the future, rather than lock up a site and put development pressure on more important properties," the report stated.
"Economic considerations and the overall community benefit of developments needed to be carefully considered "just as heritage is."
"The Bendigo city centre has a rich heritage and culture which must be taken forward and embraced as the city evolves," the report stated.
"It is a fine but pragmatic line that must be established as heritage and the need for growth come together."
The city of Greater Bendigo plans to release the heritage study by the end of the year based on current timelines. Any changes either plan brought would need amendments to Bendigo's planning scheme.
"To ensure there is a strong link between the recommendations of the two strategic pieces of work, the amendment to the Planning Scheme will occur concurrently," the council's Wonona Fuzzard said.
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