ON WEDNESDAY The City of Ballarat council will vote on what to do with a 19th century house on Gregory Street which was one of the original residences for the curators of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.
Owners of the Lake Wendouree property at 1414 Gregory Street had applied to council in July 2015 to demolish the ageing home, however council has since imposed an interim heritage protection on the property.
Council will vote on whether to ask the state minister for planning to appoint an independent planning panel, which will decided whether the property should be granted permanent individual heritage overlay.
The decision comes despite the fact a Ballarat Heritage Precincts Study from 2006 recommended the property be granted an individual heritage overlay, which was again reiterated by a heritage assessment of the property completed in September 2015.
No guarantee has been made that the property will receive a permanent heritage listing if the council passes the resolution at Wednesday’s meeting.
Councillor Samantha Mclntosh said she was confident in the advice which was sought from experts in both the 2006 and the 2015 reports.
“When we reflect upon the report back then and the recent report there appears to be an indication of significance.”
The September 2015 report filed by architect and heritage consultant Wendy Jacobs, who was also involved in the 2006 report, said the Victorian home had been erected in the botanical gardens at some point between 1868 and 1887.
The house was moved to its Gregory Street residence between 1929 and 1930, where it remains today.
In 2014 the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens group approached the owners of the property about taking control of the house.
While the owners had offered to donate the house, which would then be moved to the botanical gardens, the council in conjunction with the Lake Wendouree and Gardens Advisory Committee declined the offer, saying it was not feasible.
Speaking to The Courier in November 2014, the cottage’s co-owner Sue Guthrie said the possibility of an interim heritage overlay being enforced (which has since been enacted) had scared off potential buyers of the property.
In a statement City of Ballarat general manager of city strategy Natalie Reiter said the council had received a demolition application for the property after they had declined to offer to relocate the house to the gardens.
“The City of Ballarat discussed with the Lake Wendouree and Gardens Advisory Committee the possibility of relocating the dwelling to the Ballarat Botanical Gardens (but) the committee did not support a relocation.
“Council then received a demolition application for the property and was required to test the heritage value of the property through the Ballarat Planning Scheme Amendment process.”
In December 2015 a public exhibition was made to apply heritage overlay to the property, which attracted eight submissions, four of which objected to the proposal. They will be considered at Wednesday’s meeting.