St Paul’s Way housing boom stalled by road development stoush

A stoush over the construction of a road in Bakery Hill looks set to further delay construction of the mammoth St Paul’s Way residential project in Bakery Hill.   

In 2016 Planning Minister Richard Wynne approved the $20 million Marvella Heights development, which consists of 25 double storey townhouses and 77 apartments constructed on a blank block edged between St Paul’s Way and Faith Lane. 

Among the conditions placed on the approval was a requirement on the developer to seal Faith Lane, a gravel road along the edge of the 9608 square metre site which is owned by Ballarat City Council.

Earlier this month developer David O’Brien lodged an amendment request asking council to cover the cost of redeveloping the road.  

“By the City of Ballarat Council rebuilding Faith Lane, drainage and associated works this will catapult our project to proceed and council’s word and honour would be restored,” Mr O’Brien said in his submission to council.  “This would have the effect to encourage the existing 20 properties backing into Faith Lane to redevelop and face new dwellings into Faith Lane.” 

The block:  The $20 million development is on a vacant block between St Paul's Way and Faith Lane in Bakery Hill.

The block: The $20 million development is on a vacant block between St Paul's Way and Faith Lane in Bakery Hill.

The project has faced significant community opposition since first being proposed in 2015, with many nearby residents expressing concern over the size and design of the development.   

However council has expressed support for increased infill housing developments as part of its “10-minute city” concept.

When granting the permit in 2016 Mr Wynne altered the block’s zoning to become a residential growth zone, removing all heritage overlays.  

The land has been vacant since 1998 after the Victorian Education Department sold it to BEST Employment before it was purchased by Mr O’Brien’s company Horizon Synergy in 2014. 

Mammoth project: The development will see 25 townhouses and 77 apartments in three towers built in Bakery Hill.

Mammoth project: The development will see 25 townhouses and 77 apartments in three towers built in Bakery Hill.

“This development will deliver new family-friendly housing options close to the CBD and provide a real economic boost to the area,” Mr Wynne said at the time. 

The development is expected to be delivered in five stages, with stage one to feature a three-level, 14-apartment block. 

Despite the planning approval, a construction timeline has never been publicly outlined.

Horizon Synergy has townhouses and apartments at 29 St Paul’s Way on the market through real estate agent Paterson and Veal. 

Mr O’Brien declined to comment when contacted.