The City of Ballarat will write to the Minister for Planning in support of Ballarat Clarendon College's expansion plans following a decision at its planning delegated committee meeting on Wednesday night.
Councillors, officers and submitters discussed the issue for an hour before eventually voting in favour of the officer recommendation to support the school's application by a vote of seven to one.
Submissions from the community raised their concerns regarding the potential loss of a public pedestrian easement through the middle of the school should the entire project be decided by the Minister.
Councillors also heard from representatives of Ballarat Clarendon College, including Michael Kaufmann of Kaufmann Property Consultants and principal David Shepherd.
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The school's expansion plans include building new basketball courts and a new health and physical education centre on land currently occupied by school-owned houses which would be demolished or relocated.
The plans would also see works to the school's Sturt Street frontage, with formalised parking and a new drop-off zone.
Traffic will also be improved in the area with the staff car park to be expanded and a roundabout, safety barrier and footpaths to be installed around Wanliss Road and Junction Street.
The council officer recommendation was to make a submission in support of the development and expansion of the school into the residential area and proposed roadworks and encourage the Minister to 'make a holistic assessment of the application, including the works along road reserves and the removal of an easement'.
The Minister for Planning is the responsible authority for the redevelopment following an amendment to the Ballarat Planning Scheme in December 2019.
South ward councillor Ben Taylor, who moved the officer recommendation, said it was a tough decision for council, but the matter was ultimately in the Minister's hands.
"Even though council may or may not look at the roadworks or the easement, I think it's good for the Minister to at least review it all as a whole, not to try to pick things out," he said.
Central ward councillor Belinda Coates was the only vote against the recommendation. Cr Coates said council's submission let the community down on the heritage element and potential Ministerial decision regarding the easement.
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