Council will advise the Victorian Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) that it should refuse the ‘sky barrels’ planning application.

Council officers recommended that VCAT issue a ‘Notice of Refusal to Grant a Planning Permit’.

The application is for five ‘skybarrels’ – 12 metre tall, two story units that will overlook Lake Daylesford.

The sky barrels are metal cylinders elevated on galvanised steel beams supported by red brick retaining walls. Each unit will have an external water tank, one bedroom, a sitting area and a bathroom.

Council failed to consider the permit within the required time and the applicants have lodged an appeal with VCAT. Council has now been asked for their view by VCAT.

A similar planning proposal for Buninyong was rejected by VACT in 2021 following rejection by the City of Ballarat.

At the Council meeting this week, Hepburn Shire Senior planning officer Alison Blacket indicated that the application did not adequately address the Council’s planning framework.

Officers noted that “the siting of vehicle access, excessive height, visual dominance and contemporary architectural expression of the buildings do not respect the existing or preferred neighbourhood character. The development will visually dominate and physically detract from the heritage and landscape significance, including the integrity, authenticity, interpretation, and aesthetic qualities of Cornish Hill Precinct.”

In moving the motion to accept the officers recommendations, Council Don Henderson made the point that Cornish Hill is “the most unique example of intact mining history in the world.”

Addressing the Council on behalf of the Daylesford and District Historical Dr Leane Howard said,

“We consider this proposal highly inappropriate given its proximity to, and the severe detrimental impact it would have on, the integrity of the history, heritage and social significance of the iconic Cornish Hill Mining Reserve.”

Other objectors, including former Council Chief Executive Officer and town planner, Victor Szwed, made a number of arguments in support of the Officer’s recommendation to reject the proposal, pointing out the residential character,  heritage, access, sewerage and drainage issues that had not been adequately addressed.

Harwood and Andrews lawyers, acting on behalf of the applicants, have indicated that the applicants will need time to consider whether to prepare amended plans that respond to the Council’s position and objectors concerns.

The matter remains to be determined by VCAT.

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Sky Barrels and Cornish Hill

Editor’s note: Mark Rak, who is a member of the editorial committee and an objector to the 70 Camp St planning application has not participated in editorial decisions on this post.