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In Soldiers Hill VIC on “Amendment to existing...” at 302 Lydiard Street North, Soldiers Hill VIC 3350:

Lorraine Huddle commented

Re: Planning Application PLP/2018/528/A

I wish to object to the above application on the following grounds:

The proposal will adversely impact the heritage significance of the Soldiers Hill Heritage Precinct HO170 by removing the existing authentic historic infrastructure setting of Soldiers Hill, with the fake “Fitzroy’ theme proposed by the applicant with the construction of forms, structures and angular layout which is visually at odds with the regular grid pattern of the historic setting and I ask that the permit be refused.
Particularly relevant parts of the Statement of Significance include:
“The Soldiers Hill Precinct is aesthetically significant at a LOCAL level (AHC criteria D.2, E.1). …
Through this process of consolidation and infill over the past 120 years, the urban fabric has been extended on the same pattern (a rectangular grid )as the first mid 19th century layout and the harmony of the overall townscape has been retained
Furthermore, the visual qualities of the Precinct are specially enhanced by the substantial integrity of the original engineering infrastructure, particularly as identified by the extensive network of bluestone spoon or channel drains, and bluestone inverted channel gutters with bluestone pitcher kerbs, and by the wrought iron drain guards. “
“(f) the place's importance in demonstrating a high degree of creative or technical achievement at a particular period. The substantial integrity of the original engineering infrastructure, particularly as identified by the extensive network of bluestone drains is of importance for demonstrating the modern concepts of urban planning based on new order, hygiene and services. The use of bluestone pitchers as the principal material to form this type of engineering infrastructure also demonstrates an early, and now rarely used construction technology and the excellence of traditional craftsmanship.
The substantial integrity of the original engineering infrastructure shows an early and now rarely used construction technology and the excellence of traditional craftsmanship. This is displayed in the extensive network of bluestone spoon or channel drains and bluestone inverted gutters with bluestone pitcher kerbs and wrought iron guards.”

The Setting : The previous application described the development of the site into the new ‘Fitzroy’. Soldiers Hill should not ever be given a fake setting from a Melbourne suburb, because Soldiers Hill has its own significant history, fabric and setting which represents an extremely significant period of Ballarat’s history and story. Fake Fitzroy should never be permitted in this historic precinct. The existing historic infrastructure is the appropriate setting for the two storey North Star Hotel which is a key building at the ‘gateway’ to the precinct and at this busy intersection which has important historic buildings on four corners. A house, a former shop, the hotel and the Victorian Railway Institute.
The infrastructure is also important and is protected. It is noted that some of it has been altered to control traffic by way of a roundabout, pedestrian safety islands and nibs ( all for safety reasons and in the public interest) but it is noted that where possible the works, especially the nibs were deliberately designed to not only retain the historic bluestone gutters but to allow them to be visible and operational. Therefore the gutters should not now be covered up by a private owner wanting to use the public space with no consideration about the negative impact of concealing views of the gutters. I am aware that there are times that historic street spoon drains/gutters are retained but covered up near intersections - but this compromise is for safety reasons which is for the public good, whereas the proposed works in this permit are for the benefit of a private owner and it should not be permitted.
Maintaining and enhancing the setting of this building and the setting of all the historic places visually connected to it is important and the community expect Council to protect the setting which is identified in the Statement of Significance of this precinct. Furthermore,‘setting’ is an important defined term in the Burra Charter 2013.
If this historic infrastructure is covered up it will set a precedent to incrementally remove the historic street setting of the historic buildings in Soldiers Hill precinct. It is acknowledged that in Lydiard St North, the bluestone gutters were removed, concrete kerb and channel installed and the asphalt footpaths widened, but this occurred many years before the heritage overlay was applied and it is the reason why the historic infrastructure is specifically noted in the Statement of Significance. It is easy to compare the difference between the current view of Lydiard St North infrastructure with those streets which still have the protected historic bluestone gutters, gravel verges with mature exotic street trees such as Seymour St, Armstrong St and Neil St nearby. It is also noted that the Seymour street view of the hotel is the only one which still has historic infrastructure outside it, because it has been removed from the Lydiard St North side.
Lydiard St North infrastructure is simply standard late twentieth century design, which can be found in suburbs of that era, all over Victoria, and it is at odds with the historic buildings and fences in Lydiard St North. The inappropriate infrastructure replacement in Lydiard St North does not justify removing or concealing more of the historic infrastructure, on the contrary, it makes the remaining historic infrastructure all the more important and valuable.

The application does not provide enough information to fully assess the impact on the heritage values and I reserve the right to expand on my reasons for objecting to this proposal, especially as further information is required to fully understand the proposal.
Why is the historic bluestone guttering to be covered up when it is identified as important heritage infrastructure fabric in HO170 which is located on public land in the public domain ?
No explanation has been provided to justify the angular design of the proposed decking when the Statement of Significance clearly notes that various development has occurred over 120 years which is of its time, but it fits in with the grid pattern and hence maintains the “harmony of the overall townscape”.
What justification is there in this application for a private owner to cover and use the public land on which the historic infrastructure is located ?
There are no drawings to show how the bluestone gutter is to be covered, the manner in which a covering will be fixed to the ground and what the materials are?
No information has been provided about advertising and branding.

Support by Council for this proposal would ignore the conclusions drawn in the City of Ballarat’s recent publication “My_Suburb”_in Our People Culture Place_2017-2030. A plan to sustain Ballarat’s heritage 2017-2030.”
“OUR COMMUNITIES TOLD US THAT THEY LOVE our suburbs’ history and heritage, parks, open spaces, old buildings, lakes, playgrounds, greenery, wide streets, beautiful gardens, streetscapes with their bluestone channels, wide streets, gravel shoulders and old established trees, landscape and views,
COB - Our Commitment. Planning scheme 15.03-1S 26/10/2018 VC155
Heritage conservation Objective
Provide for the conservation and enhancement of those places that are of aesthetic, archaeological, architectural, cultural, scientific or social significance.
Encourage appropriate development that respects places with identified heritage values. Retain those elements that contribute to the importance of the heritage place.
Encourage the conservation and restoration of contributory elements of a heritage place. Ensure an appropriate setting and context for heritage places is maintained or enhanced. Support adaptive reuse of heritage buildings where their use has become redundant.
Yours sincerely Lorraine Huddle July 2019

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