A CONTROVERSIAL high-density residential project at Bakery Hill will go ahead following the tick of approval from Planning Minister Richard Wynne.
Mr Wynne has approved a permit and rezoning of the parcel of land at 29 St Paul’s Way, clearing the way for a $20 million development that will feature 77 apartments, 18 townhouses and new pedestrian and bicycle links to the CBD.
The minister said the project would stimulate growth, boost local jobs and provide housing options for Ballarat’s growing population, which is expected to increase by 139,600 people by 2031.
City of Ballarat Mayor Des Hudson welcomed the news, stating the development supported the council’s infill strategy and would be desirable for new residents wanting to live close to the city’s restaurants and services.
“What we’ll see with this green light for the developer is the chance for areas that have sat idle for a considerable amount of time, to see them become part of the activation of our city,” he said.
“It’s a great exciting opportunity to see such a significant development, as well of the jobs that will come up during that development.”
However, nearby residents have raised concerns, claiming it would ruin Bakery Hill’s heritage character.
East Street resident Andrew Madden said one of the towers would front onto his backyard, which he said would lead to a drop in his property’s value.
“It’s just totally inappropriate development for the area. You’re talking about almost 100 residences in a very small area,” he said.
“It’s the design, the fact they’re going to be overlooking people’s backyards, the height, and it will totally destroy the character of the area.”
Mr Madden also criticised the public consultation process, saying it did not allow for opposition.
“Once the council ticks it off and the minister ticks it off, that’s about it.”
Cr Hudson agreed it was important to balance development to ensure the city’s growth and its heritage precincts could co-exist. He said any project of this type would “attract a level of dialogue”.
Mr Wynne said the Bakery Hill development was an important move forward in preparing for Victoria’s growing population while “maintaining liveability”.
“This development will deliver new family-friendly housing options close to the CBD and provide a real economic boost to the area.”