THE former All Saints school and master’s quarters in Mackenzie Street will become the next hospitality fixture in Bendigo’s arts precinct after the City of Greater Bendigo gave the green light for development this week.
The reuse of a heritage building as a function centre, tavern and beer garden was the highlight of the development for councilllors, outweighing concerns about parking and access.
The plan came to council with objections including from nearby residents about the developer’s interest in accessing a basement bar from View Lane.
“While I share the concerns of the objectors as to access, safety and parking, the redevelopment and reuse of this historically significant building along with the addition of another quality venue for weddings and small conferences, food and drink, should attract more people to an area of Bendigo that is already (appealing) for its cafe and tourism culture,” councillor James Williams said.
Cr Matt Emond said the developers had worked with objectors and created a new basement entrance from Mackenzie Street.
Objections included that View Lane wasn’t wide enough to manage the movement of vehicles and people, it was privately owned and there should have been consultation with its owners.
The changes to access include new stairs from the basement bar to the courtyard and restricted use of two doors that open onto the lane.
Cr Emond said he was looking forward to a recasting of the heritage stables “that will make a very interesting and appealing courtyard”.
All Saints’ school and masters quarters was designed by Frederick Wyatt and constructed in 1877.
The buildings are a substantially intact example of Victorian Free Gothic architecture and are significant to Victoria for their aesthetic, technical and architectural features.
“It is worth noting that a conservation management plan was placed on site by the Anglican Diocese in 2012,” Cr Emond said.
“Some changes are required to the fabric of the building that aren’t necessarily supported by that conservation management plan but if you look at it in context, I find (the reuse) entirely appropriate.”
The council officer’s report covering heritage noted the use of the building meant that it would be used, maintained and appreciated.
“The original proposal resulted in too drastic a change to the stables at the rear of the site,” the report said.
“The plans have subsequently been amended to allow for the general form of the original building to still be understood, while allowing for a functional outdoor area.”