After its planning amendment was knocked back by council in July, Ballarat Clarendon College will restart talks with its neighbours in the hopes of coming to a compromise over plans for the school's expansion.
Newington residents voiced concerns during a special council meeting in June, about road and laneway closures, traffic management and parking issues surrounding the school's planned expansion.
The planning amendment would have allowed the Sturt Street campus to be rezoned as an all-encompassing special use zone and incorporated into the Ballarat Planning Scheme, with parts of Ajax and Murray streets blocked off. The school owns the directly affected properties on these roads, which are currently classified as general residential zones.
Ballarat Clarendon College principal David Shepherd said the school had been consulting with the community, and Ballarat Council, for the past five years and would continue to do so with at least two more stakholder engagement workshops, the first of which will be held next Tuesday.
"Clarendon wants to engage with the community to identify issues and explore new ways to address the issues," he wrote in a letter to nearby residents.
"Despite this (council) decision Clarendon remains committed to working with our local community and our City Council to move the proposal forward to the satisfaction of all. In starting a new amendment process, the delivery of a contemporary curriculum and the provision of certainty for the community remain our priorities."
The proposed expansion would raise the student numbers at the Sturt St campus to 1200, up from its current level of just over 1000.
Former Sovereign Hill chief executive Jeremy Johnson will run the information and consultation sessions as an independent party.
"We want to make certain we consider the community as best we can to completely understand all their concerns. We thought we had done this but this gives us another opportunity to see if there are things we can do with our planning, if it's possible to tweak things which will hopefully be in keeping with what residents want to get an outcome that everyone is happy with," Mr Shepherd said.
Michael Kaufmann from Kaufmann Property Consultants, who has been bought in to help College with the new amendment process, said the key issues in the redevelopment were the central public walkway through the school, which has been in place for decades, loss of heritage buildings, congestion associated with expansion of the college, car parking, and the expanded perimeter of the school.
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But he said residents could raise any issue associated with the changes.
"We are looking to work with the local community to exhaust all possibilities and changes to the plan and we haven't put a time frame on that," he said.
Mr Shepherd said previous consultations over the years had seen 32 changes made to the school's masterplan.
"We want to be seen as a good community member, good neighbour and take on board the concerns of our neighbours so we are going to go back and try to do that again."
Mr Shepherd said there was strong demand for enrolments at the school, which would likely increase with the expansion of Ballarat Health Services, the opening of Gov Hub and the general rapid growth of the city.
"We hope we can grow to a certainly level and achieve the things we need to in time. Interest in the school remains very strong ... we don't want to be the biggest school in the world, we have a vision of what we might be able to offer for the local community."
The first consultation session will be held on Tuesday November 12 at 7pm at Saxon House, 1431 Mair St.
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