A City of Ballarat decision to reject a planning application for the redevelopment of a block of single storey flats in Errard Street South has been upheld by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
The application for the redevelopment of five existing dwellings into a two-storey building, the construction of a sixth dwelling and a reduction in car-parking spaces was originally lodged in October 2019, and was rejected by council in April 2020.
Council rejected the application, saying 'the proposal does not respect the neighbourhood character of the area or the heritage streetscape', and a 'continuous double storey built form will have a dominating impact on the streetscape.'
The proposal does not respect the neighbourhood character of the area or the heritage streetscape... a continuous double-storey built form will have a dominating impact on the streetscape- City of Ballarat
The applicant for the development, Scott Charles, took the matter to VCAT in March 2021. He sought expert evidence from heritage consultants Bryce Raworth, who submitted 'the proposal will sit comfortably within the streetscape and will not give rise to any adverse heritage impacts for the South Ballarat Heritage Overlay Precinct.'
However VCAT member Karina Shpigel found the proposal to be unacceptable. After a conducting a (COVID-delayed) inspection of the site, Ms Shpigel said the 'bulk and scale' of the project was "an unsatisfactory response to the neighbourhood character of the area, which is informed by the finer grain historic dwellings that surround the subject land and that line Errard Street."
"I consider the attached nature of the entire building and the prominence of the upper level is not in keeping with the modest detached dwellings that adjoin and surround the subject land," Ms Shpigel said in her decision.
Ms Shpigel acknowledged the planned changes would 'improve and modernise the presentation of the existing dwellings, which were variously described as unsightly and a "blight" on the streetscape', but said ultimately the size of the redevelopment would preclude it allowing making meaningful landscaping and would be an unacceptable response to the existing neighbourhood character of the area.
The Courier attempted to contact Bryce Raworth heritage consultants for a comment on the decision.
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.