Nanga Gnulle preserved

Sharon Kemp | Bendigo Weekly | 18-Aug-2017

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THE architecturally-designed mud-brick residence at the high profile former wedding venue Nanga Gnulle is set to be preserved among a proposed subdivision on the 1.9-hectare site in Strathdale but supporters are worried its heritage value will be lost.

Cathy Spencer, who is behind the push to conserve Nanga Gnulle, said she was pleased about the protection of a heritage overlay for the site but disappointed it extended only five metres beyond the main house.

Ms Spencer’s parents built Nanga Gnulle up from a bare block of land in the 1970s.

The property was sold without conditions in 2014.

Ms Spencer said she had nominated the entire property including the extensive gardens to be assessed for state significance by Heritage Victoria.

Assessment could hold up any further progress towards development, plans for which were submitted by the new owners and include demolition of all buildings and gardens.

Before voting on Wednesday night to apply the heritage overlay, two City of Greater Bendigo councillors noted that the sale had not included conditions.

“When one sells a significant property, you would expect to get the best possible dollar for the sale and you would think if there was something sentimental or something worth preserving from a heritage perspective, that you would put those restrictions on future developments before the sale,” said Cr Yvonne Wrigglesworth.

“Nevertheless, we are here with a community who have asked us to respond via a number of significant objections.”

Cr Andrea Metcalf said the council needed to be mindful that the property’s buyer “bought it in good faith, there were no conditions on what he or she could do with the land”.

But she said many people had connections with the property having been married or attended a wedding there.

All councillors who spoke noted the heritage value of the property should be conserved.

Cr Matt Emond said council had received a letter from the National Trust supporting the application of an overlay.

They voted unanimously with the recommendations of two reports that found the mud-brick main residence on the land had heritage significance because it was designed by high-profile architect Alistair Knox and contained reclaimed materials from prominent Victorian structures.

Other buildings including a conference centre and cabins, were not included, and neither was the garden.

But Cr Jennifer Alden said the overlay extended just five metres from the house itself and she hoped the developers, who have adjusted their plans to include the mud brick home, would use their judgement to conserve the heritage value.

It is understood the council’s planning department has yet to receive the new plans.

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