Heritage overlay referred to panel

The Sunshine Silos site.

By Laura Michell

Brimbank council will ask Planning Minister Lizzie Blandthorn to appoint a planning panel to hear submissions on its proposal to apply a heritage overlay to the Sunshine Silos site.

In January 2021, council asked then planning minister Richard Wynne to apply an interim heritage overlay to the site at 2 Wright Street, Sunshine, following an application to demolish the silos and related structures.

While the demolition application was later withdrawn, council also asked Mr Wynne to apply a permanent heritage overlay to the site.

In November 2021, Mr Wynne approved an amendment to the Brimbank Planning Scheme, paving a way for a permanent heritage overlay, following community consultation.

However, in December 2021, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning refused council’s request to apply an interim heritage overlay, proposed by the planning scheme amendment, on the grounds that there was no current request for consent to demolish the silos, or a planning permit application implying a risk of demolition.

The planning scheme amendment was exhibited from February 24- March 24 this year, attracting four submissions.

A report to council’s June 23 meeting stated that the submitters’ concerns related to the safety and security of the site; that the heritage overlay would prevent development of the site; and the some of the structures were not considered significant and therefore should not be included in the heritage overlay.

Council officers recommended referring the submissions to a planning panel as they were unable to change the amendment to address the concerns of all submitters.

Councillor Victoria Borg said she was looking forward to the panel hearing the submissions.

She said the Sunshine Silos were of “great significance”, and as such, should be protected by a heritage overlay.

“They not only have historical significance, but they are also strategically positioned along the metropolitan railway as you enter Brimbank. As the saying goes, ‘first impressions are very important’ and it is very important therefore that we look after these historical places,” Cr Borg said.