Battle to save Ballarat orphanage buildings heads to VCAT

FORMER Ballarat Children’s Home residents and the Ballarat City Council will head to VCAT to defend a decision to retain buildings on the Victoria Street site.

A letter sent by town planners St Quentin on behalf of Victoria Street Developments Pty Ltd states that an Application for Review has been submitted to VCAT to appeal the council’s refusal to allow the demolition of most of the buildings. 

The letter, sent on December 20, requested a statement of grounds be submitted to VCAT before January 13 by objectors and the council.

The Victoria Street premises was purchased by developers in 2011 for a residential subdivision with a medical centre and shopping centre.

Disputed buildings and structures include the Stawell Street wall, former school house, Sloyd Storage Shed, Service Block and dwellings at 200A and 200B Victoria Street. 

Several former orphanage residents have voiced their concern at the site being redeveloped.

Former resident and advocate for the objectors, Deborah Findlay said she expected up to 50 submissions from people opposed to the proposed demolition. 

“I think it’s important that some buildings remain. The site is very significant of the orphanage’s history. In October 2015 it’s going to be 150 years old,” Ms Findlay said.

St Quentin applied for a planning scheme amendment request in November to rezone the site for residential and commercial use. 

Public submissions on the amendment are still open until next Monday.

The former orphanage, which was later occupied by Damascus College as a junior school, was home to more than 4000 children since it was built in the mid-1860s.

The council confirmed yesterday it would defend its decision to retain buildings on the site.

A St Quentin spokesperson said they would make no comment at this time.

david.jeans@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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