GREATER Bendigo councillors thrown their weight behind heritage controls on 18 sites, including one that could clash with plans for a $30 million hotel in Williamson Street.
They have backed a push to create an independent panel to consider the proposals at a meeting tonight.
The matter will now head to the planning minister to consider appointing the panel.
Cr James Williams said it was the right decision at a time when the city centre was being transformed by major building projects.
"We [councillors] are not experts on heritage. We've all got an opinion, we've all got a view," he said.
"This at least will clarify the future in terms of that and the understanding that if you own these properties or wish to do something there will be rules around it."
That includes at the former Bendigo Timber Company Store building - presently occupied by Forty Winks - which falls within a 10,000 square metre site intended for a large-scale hotel development.
Those plans for a 200-room hotel with conference and events space require the demolition of the Bendigo Timber Company Store building.
Project backers Spring Developments have objected to the proposed protections, saying they are based on a council study which had not adequately established the building's heritage significance.
The owners of the Bendigo Bowling Centre have also objected to their Hargreaves Street building making the list and queried the justification for the heritage recognition.
Councillor Matt Emond acknowledged those questions but said the panel process would allow land owners to talk to the council.
"It is a balancing act ... some of us might look at the bowling centre or even the 40 Winks building and ask what is 'heritage'," he said.
"What we did find with this study was that there was a deficit in attention to post-war architecture and heritage."
Councillor Andrea Metcalf said heritage studies can be controversial.
"Not everyone will agree. But if protections aren't put in place then in years to come people will be asking how this or that building was allowed to be demolished," she said.
The council has also backed a separate push to sell and subdivide La Trobe University land on Osborne Street, Flora Hill.
La Trobe has no use for the land next to its athletics track anymore. It would like the land rezoned so that medium density housing can rise there.
It also wants to see heritage protections for Eumana, the historic home that remains at the site, remain, as well as scarred trees that are significant because of their links to Indigenous Australians.
The council will now submit its views to the Government Land Planning Service for consideration.
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