Development approved for Carriers Arms

Mount Alexander Shire Council’s decision to approve development of Maldon’s historic Carriers Arms property paves the way for a new bakery and cafe in the town’s main street.
At its meeting last Tuesday night the council unanimously granted approval for the development aiming to build a two-bedroom dwelling and develop an existing building to create three commercial shop tenancies and one bakery/cafe at the 1850s premises at 61 High Street.
However the proposal drew eight objections with concerns including potential noise, odour, overshadowing, heritage impacts and parking worries.
And three Maldon locals expressed their concerns in person during public question time at last week’s council meeting.
One objector who lives in an adjoining property told the meeting she was worried about early morning traffic associated with the proposed bakery, while another said he believed car parking provisions were inadequate and efforts to address odour by shifting an extractor fan “a bit” would not make any real difference.
Consultant David Robb, representing the owner-applicant, also addressed the meeting, stating that some degree of noise was “part and parcel of a commercial zone”.
He said plans had been altered in an effort to minimise odour from the bakery and the proposal would bring benefits for Maldon.
“The Carriers Arms building has been in need of restoration for some time and reuse of buildings is a really effective way of restoring them,” Mr Robb said.
The historic building – that began life as the Carriers Arms Hotel with Maldon’s principal coaching office attached to it – is in a commercial 1 zone and covered by a heritage overlay and the proposal had been referred to the council’s heritage advisor who recommended approval subject to permit conditions.
Tarrengower Ward councillor Stephen Gardner moved the motion in support saying it would “revitalise a building in desperate need of restoration”.
Cr Dave Henderson said it was important to note that while council had the right to refuse approval, the council’s planning staff had listed no grounds for doing so.
“There were no grounds for refusal which means (refusal) would fail at VCAT and you could end up with something that VCAT thinks is right for Maldon,” Cr Petrusma said.
“Ultimately it’s a commercial zone and so it’s likely to end up being used for commercial purposes.”

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