Planners at the centre of a long-running dispute over whether a tree should be removed to reinstall a heritage fence, or the fence removed to retain the tree, have lodged an application for the corymbia to be cut down.
The amendment to an existing permit for works at 113 Webster Street has been lodged with the City of Ballarat, and is another chapter in a series of disputes over the site, which saw the heritage-listed home Glynderwen demolished in 2015, replaced by a new dwelling 'in the style of' its late 1800s predecessor.
At the time, City of Ballarat's director of growth and development Natalie Robertson said the demolition and 'reconstruction' of the Victorian house was allowed to proceed on the advice of a consulting heritage advisor.
"This matter was a genuine application: 'we want to demolish and reconstruct under the Heritage requirements', Ms Robertson told The Courier in 2020.
"So the required, approved path is followed. At every stage, however it can become a slow erosion. As the owner starts development those things that may have been seen to be able to be preserved are shown to be damaged or structurally unsound, even though your first advice may have indicated it was achievable."
Without having an understanding of the reasoning behind Council's original decision to approve the demolition of the existing dwelling, retain only the front heritage fence and to also retain the tree within the front setback, we have been faced with an impossible task.Inception Planning
The current owners of the building were not the developers of the new building, and are seeking to reinstate the original heritage fence, all that remains of Glynderwen, according to the latest amendment.
Planning consultants Inception Planning have lodged an application to cut down a 'red flowing gum' (sic; variously named Corymbia ficifolia or Corymbia Calophylla in the application; they are separate species), which has been the subject of several reports regarding its potential retention or removal over four years.
The planners seek to remove protection placed on the tree, a condition of the original 2015 application.
"We have engaged Structural Engineers, Arborists and worked with Council over the past 12 months to work through ways we can achieve Council's initial vision to retain the tree whilst ensuring the heritage fence is replaced however it has come to every parties attention this is not practical," the report states.
"The three supporting Arboricultural Reports commissioned by the 'Ballarat Tree Fella' and ... 'Uber Arbor' have agreed that it is not possible for the tree and the front fence to co-exist.
"Without having an understanding of the reasoning behind Council's original decision to approve the demolition of the existing dwelling, retain only the front heritage fence and to also retain the tree within the front setback, we have been faced with an impossible task.
"Having obtained a number of expert reports and undertaken numerous discussions with Council staff, we are left with no choice but to choose one or the other. Or compromise on design."
The application is currently before the City of Ballarat.
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