New report to be prepared for Civic Hall

THE planning process to demolish the Civic Hall can be stopped in its tracks for 12 months.

The council will receive an internal briefing following Sunday's shock announcement by Premier Denis Napthine the VicRoads headquarters would be moved to the Civic Hall site if the government is re-elected.

The Civic Hall would not be affected by the proposed VicRoads office, but it is understood the two buildings could be attached. 

Mayor Joshua Morris said councillors raised a number of questions about the planning process during a closed-door meeting last night, confirming they could suspend the current demolition application for 12 months.

"There will be discussions around this at the next council meeting," Cr Morris said.

"There may be an opportunity for a councillor to put toward a motion. We're talking about whether council could suspend the planning application we've got at the moment and really investigate what the opportunities for adaptive reuse could be ... or there may be opportunities to do a range of other things."

Cr Morris said councillors and City of Ballarat staff had been advocating for a government department to relocate to the Ballarat CBD for a long time.

"This has been a key part of the regional capital plan we went down to Spring Street for last year," Cr Morris said.

"One of the key parts of the capital plan says if a government service relocates to Ballarat it needs to be in the CBD. When you look at the available sites, the Civic Hall site ...was a logical progression."

Earlier today, Cr Morris said the councillors met last night in a closed meeting where questions were asked about the move and the impact it would have on the controversial Civic Hall site. 

The report is expected to be completed by the end of the week and will set out all of the options for council. 

"There was a real positive energy in the room last night," Cr Morris said. 

On Sunday Dr Napthine said a "world class" headquarters would be built on land adjoining the Civic Hall, on the Armstrong Street North side. 

Dr Napthine said employees would be able to easily access the headquarters via the upgraded Regional Rail Link project. 

The Courier revealed last week a City of Ballarat planning application for the Civic Hall had already attracted 1900 submissions.

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