DEVELOPERS of the former Nanga Gnulle site in Strathdale may have to submit a third version of their subdivision plans after an independent panel recommended a greatly expanded overlay to protect the historically significant Alistair Knox house.

The original subdivision plan for the 1.9-hectare parcel of land in Strathdale bulldozed all the buildings, gardens and water features on site to make way for 15 house lots.

That planning application started a wave of opposition from the former owners and neighbours to the demolition of the property, which once supported a wedding and function centre business.

The National Trust also joined in with its view that the building had historical significance.

After receiving a heritage consultant’s report, the City of Greater Bendigo voted to protect only the mud brick house on site, over which it placed a five-metre conservation overlay.

Developer Jing Ying Pty Ltd resubmitted plans to make way for the house, keeping the same subdivision layout but reducing the number of lots to 14.

But the independent panel’s decision may force the owner to reconfigure the entire site given their recommendation that the curtilage at the front of the house be about 24m to incorporate a natural watercourse over which the house was built to have views.

“The front curtilage should be extended to include the watercourse to allow a ‘space’ around the dwelling and the dwelling to appear elevated above the garden and the gully itself, but key elements in the original siting of the house,” the panel’s report states.

“The proposed 5m front setback, that bears no context on the ground and conveniently reflects the setback of a proposed subdivision, is not an appropriate curtilage.”

The panel failed to recommend protection for the interior of the house, however.

“The panel concludes there is little to be achieved by applying the internal alteration controls to the dwelling through this panel process,” the report said.

“The panel is conscious that no other Alistair Knox building, even his own dwelling, has internal controls.”

And the gardens on the former Nanga Gnulle property were also left out of the overlay.

The property and subdivision plans will come before council for a decision in the future.