Council’s proposed permanent Heritage Overlay for the Old Hepburn Hotel is to be referred to the Minister for Planning with a request to appoint an Independent Panel to considered the amendment.
In 2018. Council issued approval for a seven lot subdivision, construction of six accommodation units and use part of the existing hotel. in 2019, Council received a planning application for a twelve-lot subdivision which included the demolition of the hotel. council officers met with the developer and advised that demolition was not supported until the cultural and heritage significance of the Hotel was determined.
The Cultural Heritage Significance Assessment found that “the Old Hepburn Hotel has historical significance for its associations with the German and Swiss Italian gold miners, who were attracted to the Daylesford and Hepburn Springs gold fields in the 1850s and 1860s” and that “‘the Old Hepburn Hotel has historic and rarity value as one of the longest operating hotels in the region… It is representative of a specific type of small gold rush hotel, of which few remain.”
In February 2020, Council requested an Interim Heritage Overlay to protect the Hotel and the Interim Overlay was granted in August 2020.
Council then prepared a Planning Scheme Amendment to create a permanent Heritage Overlay for the Hotel. Following public exhibition of the Amendment, eight written objections were received. Discussions with submitters has not led to a resolution or withdrawal of objections.
Objectors have questioned the heritage value and the validity of the heritage assessment. They have noted that the building is externally dilapidated and has been internally gutted. They also note that it burned down twice in the early 1900s and the and the existing structure does not share gold rush heritage.
Council will consider the recommendation of the Council Strategic Planner, Glenn Musto, to refer the Amendment to the Minister, at its meeting on Tuesday evening.