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City of Ballarat Community Magazine October 2010
Civic Hall site concepts
Ballarat City Council has unveiled three masterplan design concepts for
the redevelopment of the Civic Hall site.
The development and adoption of the Ballarat CBD and Economic strategies
have provided Council with clear guidelines to support the potential
redevelopment of the Civic Hall site. Together with advice from the Civic
Hall Heritage Appraisal, which was prepared by leading heritage consultants
Lovell Chen, Council now has a clear understanding of the historical and
cultural significance of the site and critical information concerning whether
full or partial retention of the existing building can be contemplated.
Substantial planning work has been undertaken in respect of the Civic
Hall site including:
Assessing the heritage significance of the building;
Assessing the physical capacity of the site to accommodate office
• floor space, with regard to the CBD Strategy;
Assessing the requirements and capability for car parking on the
Assessing Council's requirements for office accommodation for its
Council acknowledges that the Civic Hall site is of special significance to
the Ballarat community, particularly from a social and cultural point of
view. Building practices, environmental requirements and cultural and
social needs have changed, and in many ways the built form of the Civic
Hall is no longer relevant or appropriate to our modern community.
The decision to move Council's administrative activities to the Civic Hall
site will free the Town Hall to become the civic and community heart of
Ballarat. This community space could be used for civic receptions and
Council meetings, as well as a variety of community benefit activities,
such as arts, cultural and community gatherings.
The Town Hall project also provides an opportunity for Council to restore
the A Hall which is currently dilapidated and not fit for public use. Located
on the upper level of the Town Hall, the A Hall, which has been closed
to the public for over 30 years, was an impressive venue for civic events
including ceremonies, concerts and dances during the early 1900s.
A renovated A Hall would enable many of the former uses of the Civic
Hall to once again take place in the heart of the Ballarat CBD. Releasing
the lower Town Hall for community use, along with a renovated A Hall,
compensates for the potential loss of a community building, which is no
longer used or functional on the Civic Hall site.
Council has established a masterplan working group to develop a series
of options for the Civic Hall site. The group has considered how the
site can be developed with either full or partial retention of the existing
structures, or alternately with full demolition of the existing building. This
process has identified three preferred potential masterplan concepts for
the Civic Hall site. The final masterplan will guide the redevelopment,
taking into consideration the carefully articulated principles governing
the desired outcomes for the site and planning permit requirements. This
working group comprises of Council staff and expert consultants from
planning and urban design, heritage, property economics, architecture
and structural design.
The masterplan options have been designed to accommodate a staged
development of the site, with consideration for maximum site yield and car
parking provision. The masterplan will ensure that the Library building is
properly respected and integrated into the development, and that pedestrian
and vehicular access to the Library is maintained and enhanced.
Council has a clear commitment to involving the community in considering
the best way to achieve a range of outcomes through the development. In
order to maximise this outcome it is proposed to establish a Community
Advisory Committee, to be chaired by an elected Councillor, to oversee
the consultation with the community. The Community Advisory Committee
will include representatives from key community interest groups, and
will be responsible for discussing issues and identifying opportunities
relative to the project.
For more information on the process for developing the masterplan or the
Community Advisory Committee contact Council's Growth and Economy
unit on 5320 5500.
To view the masterplan design concepts go to www.ballarat.vic.gov.au
Below: Three masterplan design concepts for the Civic Hall site
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