The City of Ballarat is set to decide whether or not to support the expansion of Ballarat Clarendon College.
At a meeting on Wednesday night, council's delegated planning committee will decide whether council will provide a written response with a statement of objection or no objection to the school's expansion plans.
The school's masterplan includes building new basketball courts and a new health and physical education centre on land currently occupied by houses, demolishing dwellings at 17 and 23 Ajax Street, 1 Murray Street and partial demolition at 15 Ajax Street. Houses at 19 and 21 Ajax Street would also be relocated to 17 and 10 Ajax Street, respectively.
Of the affected dwellings, two are staff residences and four are empty, according to the Ballarat Clarendon College Master Plan.
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The redevelopment plans also include formalising parking along Sturt Street and creating a new drop-off zone and expanding the school's science centre and senior centre.
Under an amendment introduced to the Ballarat Planning Scheme in December 2019, designed for fast-tracked planning for non-government schools, the Minister for Planning was made the responsible authority for works worth more than $3 million.
The school also plans to improve traffic around the area, including expanding the car park from 18 spaces to 53, a new roundabout at Wanliss Road and Junction Street, a new safety barrier and new footpaths.
The officer recommendation from director of development and growth Natalie Robertson is to support the redevelopment, road works tree planting and extension of the school into the residential area due to the 'demonstrated net community benefit associated with the campus expansion'.
A previous planning permit application for development at Ballarat Clarendon College in 2011 was refused by council due to concerns surrounding the loss of heritage buildings and the impact on character and car parking.
However, a permit was later issued by VCAT for the use and development of a primary school, secondary school, demolition of dwellings, fencing and outbuildings at 18, 20, 22 and 24 Ajax Street and buildings and works associated with a new science building.
In 2017, a planning scheme amendment and planning application was also lodged to rezone the entire campus as a special use zone to enable permit approvals for the Ballarat Clarendon College Sturt Street Campus Master Plan 2017-2030.
After a exhibition process in March 2019, council received 29 submissions before abandoning the amendment at a July 2019 council meeting.
While the officer recommendation is in support of the plans, there are some concerns from council's heritage department.
According to the agenda, 'the proposal will result in a substantial and unacceptable degree of change to the western end of Ajax Street through the loss of another tranche of contributory dwellings'.
Other concerns also surround disturbance and damage to bluestone guttering and an adverse impact on the character of the heritage precinct due to the construction of playing fields and outdoor spaces.
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