New life is again being touted for the long-maligned former Ballarat Orphanage in Ballarat, with a bid to create a childcare centre on the site.
An eyesore in Ballarat’s major entryway, the main Victoria Street street-facing building known as the toddler’s block, transformed into facility for 84 children.
Plans were lodged by developer Bentley Property Group to City of Ballarat this week. It’s a significant step forward for one of Ballarat’s largest infill sites, where development has been slowed by heritage concerns.
One of the distinctive brickwork entry porticos on the Victoria Street face will be removed but will still remain as an entry, while an eastern section of the building is to be demolished and replaced with a rectangular wood and glass extension.
Under the plan, a new internal courtyard and garden will be created in the centre of the toddler’s block building, as well as another small courtyard place space attached to a room for eight babies.
Bentley Property Group director Andrew Ferguson said the new proposal hoped to be sensitive to the heritage value of the building.
“With the City of Ballarat’s guidance we are pleased to have lodged an application to redevelop the current vacant Toddlers Block with what is a respectful adaptive reuse,” he said.
“We wanted to ensure the Heritage values of the building are saved while still ensuring a state of the art/industry leading Child Care Centre to be created.”
Current plans show a car park with twenty car spaces abutting the Victoria Street edge, with space for four bicycles.
The existing and new parts of the building will total 879 square metres, with the play spaces measuring 1478 square metres.
A number of non-essential internal walls, used to create offices for former Damascus College staff, will also be removed under the proposal.
A separate plan to develop a Ryan’s IGA at 200 Victoria Street was lodged with council at the end of April.
Under the plan the former Damascus school building would be incorporated into a new shopping precinct, equipped with four separate retail spaces.
A new 109-space car park with access from both Victoria and Stawell streets will also be constructed if the project receives approval.
The new planning application comes as works began on the sites of two of Ballarat’s most controversial medium density builds at the end of October, as City of Ballarat continues an ambitious focus on infill development.
Visible preparatory works had started on the former orphanage site, while works to clear the former Anglican school site on St Paul's Way in readiness for development also began.
A ‘high priority’ of City of Ballarat’s passed planning scheme amendment in October was the preparation of a compact city plan, which states they will ‘encourage 50 per cent of future housing development to occur in established neighbourhoods’.