A leafy corner on one of Ballarat's most beautiful streets has been the subject of a legal planning battle in recent months.
A Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) ruling is now allowing a development to go ahead at 118 Frank Street in Ballarat Central.
It will permit the unusual L-shaped site to be subdivided and a two-storey development constructed facing Duncan Street at the end of the garden.
Once complete the new home - which will be built on land that is currently part of 118 Frank Street, the penultimate property on the street - will rise above the carport and garden of the immediate neighbours.
It will also overlook the back yards of properties on Loch Street, which runs parallel to Frank Street.
The ruling is a microcosm of a wider balancing act faced by planning authorities as they push to increase Ballarat's "infill" developments - ie building more housing in established urban areas.
They hope almost as many people will move to the city's existing suburbs as to the rapidly expanding growth areas - which are spreading out particularly to the west.
Objections to the development were put forward by immediate neighbours, who argued that the proposed new property would not fit within the surrounding character.
They also queried the access to the site, the impact on an adjacent tree, as well as some design issues.
They contested the original ruling put forward by the City of Ballarat Council, which approved the development. There were six objections to the proposed planning permit, citing 11 separate issues with the planning application, from overshadowing concerns to issues with an "out of character" lot size.
The new property will have a lot size of 174sqm. In its original planning report, the City of Ballarat described the proposed lot as "a tight one, of very modest proportions" but said subdivisions in the area were also "relatively tight".
For the applicants, the VCAT ruling did achieve a few concessions, despite the development ultimately being ushered through. The VCAT adjudicator cited "the extent to which infill development ...is strongly encouraged in this neighbourhood" and said it would not "adversely affect" the heritage significance of the area due to its "very low visibility" from Frank Street,
Among other things, however, the ruling imposed conditions that windows on the first floor should have obscured glazing to a height of 1.7 m above the floor level to prevent overlooking.
It also ordered a qualified arborist to deal with an established plane tree on an adjoining Loch Street property, which will be retained under the plans.
The ruling was the final hurdle faced by the owners of 118 Frank Street, who were represented at VCAT by local solicitor Neil Haydon. The City of Ballarat's director of infrastructure and environment Terry Demeo said the decision supported the position taken by council and welcomed the "very detailed" ruling,
Subject to slightly modified designs being accepted by the City of Ballarat, construction is expected to begin shortly.
READ MORE: THE VCAT RULING IN FULL
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