At their regular meeting last Tuesday, Council granted a planning permit for the development of the St Andrew’s Presbyterian church site at 19A Camp Street as group accommodation. The proposal includes renovation of the existing church (two units) and construction of two new buildings to its rear (10 units).

The Church is an historic and iconic feature in the Wombat Hill landscape. It was built using funds provided by Mrs Jessie Leggatt, a prominent philanthropist in Daylesford. Her family had the Coach House on Lake Daylesford in Leggatt Street which is named after the family. A memorial plaque in the porch of the church commemorates her contribution. She also established the Jessie Leggatt scholarship for Melbourne University law students which continues to this day.

The Church was sold in 2002 and has been vacant since then. It has fallen into disrepair and suffered from vandalism.

The existing church building is to be renovated with two new double-storey apartments to be constructed within the structure. The choir, organ and pulpit areas would remain ‘common areas’. External changes to the church structure would be minimal.

A two-storey building would be constructed in the middle of the site, directly behind the church building to accommodate two apartments on each level. A three-storey building, including 12-space ground level car park, would be constructed at the rear of the site to accommodate three apartments on each of the above two levels.

Six objections to the proposal were received. Although there was general support for the restoration and development of the church building, concerns were raised about increased noise, removal of trees, height of buildings, the visual impact of the development and impact on neighbourhood character.

Historic St Andrews Presbyterian.

Council sought independent heritage advice from expert heritage consultant Ray Tonkin at its own expense. Mr Tonkin is well renowned within the heritage and planning fields. His report raised no substantial heritage concerns.

Council officers recommended a total of 31 conditions including retention or replacement of existing trees and provisions to protect and manage an historic mullock heap which borders the property.

There was considerable discussion by Councillors about the proposal and some reluctance to support it. Cr Hewitt summarised the feelings of councillors saying that on the one hand there was a desire to support the restoration of the historic and iconic church but concern about the additional development. On balance, however, the reality is that the building is no longer a public building but has been in private hands since its sale some years ago.  Any restoration of the church would require that there was a financial benefit to the developer – thus the additional development.

The proposal was approved with a vote of five councillors in favour. There was one abstention and Cr Henderson had absented himself from the discussion because of a perceived conflict of interest.

An application for a two lot subdivision at 1A Elsbeth Court, Daylesford was considered by Council although no determination could be made because the application has been referred to VCAT because Council had not determined the application within the 60-day statutory limit.

Although no objections were lodged, Council will pursue refusal of the application at VCAT because the development is not consistent with the character of the area. Through the VCAT process, Council will seek to negotiate changes to the proposal to respond to the Neighbourhood Residential Zone requirements and the character of the surrounding area.

Current Planning applications that affect Daylesford, Hepburn and immediately surrounding communities are included in the table below. Closing dates listed for applications indicate the last date on which objections are guaranteed to be considered. Objections to planning applications will be considered after that date until a decision has been made.

Significant modifications are proposed for the property at 16 Leggatt Street (PLN23/0225) that currently consists of 8 serviced apartments. The proposal includes the development of a reception area and additional apartment a pool (10m x6m) and sauna complex. An additional apartment is to be developed within the  complex. The applicant has not included any (additional) on site parking with the property replying on on street parking.


Application ID Application Description Property Address Closing Date
PLN23/0225 Carry out buildings and works, internal works to create an additional serviced apartment, external cut and fill to the rear, landscaping works including removal of vegetation. 16 Leggatt Street DAYLESFORD VIC 3460 7/03/2024
PLN23/0231 Two Lot Subdivision and Removal of Vegetation 5 Lone Pine Avenue HEPBURN SPRINGS VIC 3461 6/03/2024
PLN23/0240 Two lot subdivision 92 Central Springs Road DAYLESFORD VIC 3460 6/03/2024
PLN23/0269 Development of land for extension to an existing dwelling 21 Vincent Street North DAYLESFORD VIC 3460 6/03/2024