Council approves next steps for city centre planning amendment proposal

Council has approved the progress of a proposed amendment to the Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme which aims to provide a clear and responsive framework on future growth and development in the city centre.

The proposed Planning Scheme Amendment C279gben has been prepared to implement the strategic directions set in the Bendigo City Centre Plan and related supporting documents, including better defined precincts, heritage guidelines, clearer zones and appropriate overlays.

City of Greater Bendigo Director Strategy and Growth Steve Hamilton said the Bendigo City Centre Plan was adopted in May 2020 to provide an overarching structure plan.

“The Bendigo City Centre Plan was developed to provide vision and clear direction to manage growth in the city centre. The Planning Amendment C279gben with its supporting documents, have been prepared to implement this plan,” Mr Hamilton said.

“The city centre is the most significant commercial, health, education and service centre north of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria. It not only services our Greater Bendigo community, but it is also the hub for a regional community of close to 300,000 people.

“The proposed amendment to the Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme will provide a logical strategic planning framework that’s clearer, less complex, and more responsive to allow for a well-designed compact city to thrive and flourish.”

The Amendment C279gben includes the following key elements:

  • A new Activity Centre Zone to bring together several disparate zones under a single zone and schedule; to remove and replace relevant Design and Development Overlays and to implement the Urban Design Framework based on the nine precincts in the City Centre Plan 2020
  • A new Parking Overlay Schedule 3 to remove minimum parking requirements
  • Implementation of the Bendigo City Centre Heritage Study – Stage 2 – Precincts
  • An update of the Bendigo city centre policy position to align and reflect the higher order strategy

“Heritage is at the forefront of consideration when it comes to understanding how the city has changed over time and how it will continue to change into the future.

“The built environment heritage of Bendigo is central to its appeal and attraction and is part of our city’s DNA. To preserve the heritage value of the City Centre, we need to now take a conservative approach to any changes to heritage buildings and streetscapes. We must also accommodate new development in the city centre that is responsive to the heritage context.

“Much work on heritage has been undertaken over several years. Two studies were undertaken with the first focusing on individual places of significance and the second focusing on a review of heritage precincts.

“The Stage 1 study has already been offically gazetted so only Stage 2 of the heritage precincts study will form part of Amendment C279gben."  

The Stage 2 Heritage Study recommends the following:

  • Revise the Bendigo Civic and Commercial Precinct (HO3) to create two precincts: the Grand Boulevards, and Hargreaves Street and Environs, and make changes to update places within these two precincts
  • Remove the Upper Reserve from the Rosalind Park Precinct (HO10) to create a stand-alone precinct
  • Apply the Heritage Overlay to four new individual heritage places: former Sharland’s Surgery and residence at 391 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo, the former Belfast Store at 402 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo, the former Caroline Warehouse and Store at 95 Mitchell Street, Bendigo, and the former BCM Butter Factory at 62 Queen Street, Bendigo

Additional Heritage Overlay anomalies have also been identified in preparing Amendment C279gben and these are proposed to be corrected as part of this process.

The findings from the heritage studies have also informed the development of an Urban Design Framework (UDF) which provides strategic design direction to manage change taking place in the urban environment. The urban design guidelines address various aspects including building heights, street walls, setbacks, site cover, strategic sites. Specific direction is provided for each of the nine precincts previously established by the City Centre Plan.

“Putting in place well-considered and context-responsive urban design guidelines and planning controls to guide investment and development is critical.

“It is important that new developments complement the existing heritage buildings which are highly valued by the community and play an important role in promoting tourism. We want to build on our rich heritage and fulfil our role as an important regional centre that is economically viable, welcoming and sustainable in the future.

“The Bendigo City Centre Urban Design Framework and Amendment C279gben, including additional supporting work, have been developed with all of these considerations in mind.”

The amendment will be forwarded to the Victorian Minister for Planning to seek authorisation for the amendment to be prepared. The community will have the opportunity to provide feedback once Amendment C279gben is on public exhibition.

Due to the complex nature of the amendment and the inclusion of the heritage study, it is anticipated that the process will take between 12 to 18 months.







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