In July 2015, the Victorian Government pledged up to $25 million towards the delivery of the Ballarat Station Precinct Redevelopment Project, in partnership with the private sector. As a landmark site included on the Victorian Heritage Register, and as a community asset which is to be privatised in part, it is reasonable for the community to expect the highest quality outcome from the redevelopment process, and one which will protect and enhance our shared heritage. Having reviewed the Concept Plans however, the National Trust have significant concerns about the proposed development, including the quality of built form and urban design, and the adapative re-use of the Goods Shed. At this stage of planning, it is crucial to address key issues of viability, urban and built form design, and heritage conservation, to ensure the development proceeds in an appropriate form, and conservation works are undertaken in concert with new development. Key to the successful redevelopment of the Ballarat Railway Precinct is ensuring that the adaptive re-use of the Goods Shed and other heritage fabric is sensitive to heritage values, and is sustainable into the future.
The National Trust has extended the offer to meet with Regional Development Victoria, Pellicano and the project architects to discuss these concerns in more detail.
To read our submission in full, click here.
The Ballarat Railway Complex was included on the National Trust Register in 1958, making it one of the earliest places classified by the National Trust in Victoria. To read the National Trust Statement of Significance, click here.
The initial overall concept Masterplan includes a 4.5 star Quest hotel with 77 rooms, a conference centre with adjoining retail and dining options, a new two-level commuter car park with 270 spaces, internal road access and pedistrain improvements, and a public plaza for community events.
The National Trust has significant concerns regarding the detailed design of the proposed hotel. Any consideration of this site must be undertaken with regard to the immediate context, within the railway precinct, as well as the broader context of Lydiard Street and the Ballarat town centre. In our view, the proposed hotel building is generic in form, rather than responsive to existing site conditions and the heritage of the site, failing to reach a standard of excellence appropriate for this landmark site.
The weighbridge and associated equipment and rails are included in the Victorian Heritage Register citation, and provide important evidence of the functions of the railway precinct. We submit that it is inappropriate to ‘sanitise’ the site through the demolition of significant elements. Rather, the proposed development should work around identified heritage fabric, retaining and revealing the site’s many layers. The removal of these items is not supported.
We submit that the use of the Goods Shed for a convention centre with retail tenancies, as detailed in the concept plans, would result in unacceptable heritage impact.The partitioning of the building to accommodate the dual use for a “convention centre” would appear to prevent an appreciation of the internal volume of the Goods Shed. A more acceptable heritage outcome would be to substantially retain the full internal volume of at least part of the building, so that internal views along the east–west axis are retained, providing an appreciation of the size of the building and its historic functions.
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National Trust of Australia (Vic)