Planning hurdle for orphanage

DEVELOPERS of the former Ballarat orphanage are facing dozens of objections, a ‘blood claim’ and an Aboriginal Affairs investigation into the possibility of buried human remains.

The City of Ballarat is now likely to bring in an independent planning panel after receiving another 33 submissions on the future of the Victoria Street site.

The former Ballarat Children’s Home was sold to a developer in 2011 for a residential subdivision with a medical centre and shopping complex.

But buildings would need to be rezoned for commercial, mixed and residential use and public consultation was recently invited.

A report, to be considered by the council on Wednesday, said the public submissions raised heritage, traffic, amenity and flooding issues for the development.

The report recommends sending the information to an independent planning panel.

Of the 33 submissions, eight called for more of the site to be retained, particularly the former schoolhouse building.

A former resident also made a ‘blood claim’ to the land and highlighted the possibility of human remains on the site.

Adjoining residents expressed concerns about building heights overshadowing residential properties, while VicRoads suggested there would be traffic implications.

The council recently approved several buildings for demolition but rejected the developer’s bid to knock down the majority of structures.

The decision is the subject of a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal appeal.

Several submitters requested the former schoolhouse be converted into a museum, but acknowledged that funding would need to be sourced.

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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