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Plan for former Ballarat Orphanage site adopted

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2015, the City of Ballarat approved the rezoning of the former Ballarat Orphanage land in Victoria Street to become mixed site, both commercial and residential.

It also enabled the heritage status of buildings still on site to be determined, with the former schoolhouse, the toddlers’ block and a wall on Stawell Street given heritage protection.

A site development plan was lodged with the City of Ballarat in August, and approved by council officers this week.

The site will be used for 41 residential allotments, along with a commercial space on the corner of Victoria and Stawell streets incorporating the former school house.

A mixed-use space will include the orphanage’s former toddlers block.

Heritage signage will also be incorporated into the design, including input from former residents as the City of Ballarat recognises it is very important for them to maintain their connection to the site.

The developers are now able to lodge planning applications to build and develop the site, noting an environmental audit will be needed for any sensitive use.

Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh said this would be one of the most long-standing and controversial projects under consideration.

“We want to see this important site used for the future population of the City of Ballarat,” she said.

“By retaining the former school house and toddlers’ block, and erecting heritage signage, we are paying respect to the site’s former history.”

“However, the City of Ballarat will also not tolerate ‘demolition by neglect’ of our heritage assets, particularly in a highly visible site which is part of the gateway to our city.”

“That’s why we are looking to consider a new Community Local Law which will give us additional powers to manage sites that are vacant and/or dilapidated.”

“The City of Ballarat hopes to continue working with the landowners in further developing this landmark site.”