Artist’s impression of the proposed Bridge Street Hotel. Image contributed.

THE redevelopment of Bridge Street will get under way with the building of a seven-storey hotel that is taller than planning guidelines.

Keen to fit a hotel into the Bridge Street precinct, near the hospital and the city’s Chinese tourism area, City of Greater Bendigo councillors this week narrowly approved the development plans for a 30-suite hotel next to the 24-hour pharmacy on Bridge Street.

The project, which includes a rooftop bar and basement car parking for 11 vehicles, drew objections in the neighbourhood for the height of the building and for the prospect that parking would become even more congested.

The application was approved four votes to three, those councillors voting against arguing that ignoring height controls in the area could set a precedent for future development.

Given the development is the first that sits within the council’s strategic ambitions for Bridge Street, “it is a critical one and will set a precedent for future development,” Whipstick ward councillor Andrea Metcalf said.

Jennifer Alden said the building’s design had positives which was the Chinese-inspired design of the facade, and negatives including the bare side walls of the proposed hotel.

She suggested the developer go back to the drawing board.

But James Williams, Matt Emond, Yvonne Wrigglesworth supported the development for the opportunity to add to Bendigo’s city accommodation options.

There was consensus among them on a separate planning decision, to build a 200-seat church backing onto national park land in Kangaroo Flat.

Its location outside of the urban growth boundary and within a bushfire overlay led councillors to reject the plan.

“State planning policy dictates that protection of human life over all other policy must be prioritised,” Cr Metcalf said.

“I am not convinced that introducing a large community facility capable to holding up to 200 people in an area with an undeveloped road network, would be upholding the requirements of the planning regulations.”