Hospital reno soon

The Old Kyneton Hospital is a step closer to seeing new life pour through its doors as the first part of Embracia Victoria’s plan for the site got aired last week.

The aged-care provider aims to use the site at 67 Simpson Street for co-located childcare and aged-care facilities, purchasing the property in November 2019.

Plans for its childcare centre reveal a double-storey development on the north-eastern corner of the site to accommodate up to 120 children and 24 staff, operating between 6.30am and 6.30pm on weekdays.

The centre would include five childcare rooms for children up to five years and one infant-care room, as well as outdoor play areas. The proposal also includes the removal of four non-native trees.

While many have welcomed reinvigoration of the site, which has had several false-starts under different ownership, there has been some push back to design and function of the childcare centre including five formal objections to council.

Loss of views, site entry, amenity and traffic safety impacts were high among objector concerns as well as the potential loss of a direct pedestrian connection to Campaspe River through the site.

A road reserve through the centre of the site to Mill Street was previously discontinued and consolidated into the subject land and is no longer a right of way or other formal public accessway.

Embracia general manager Damien Lippiatt said Embracia had listened to community concerns and made several changes to the design in response including the site entrance.

“We want to reinstate the extension of Simpson Street to be the entrance to the site. This keeps the traffic to the top of the hill and removes cars waiting to turn in front of homes in Wedge Street,” he said.

“Car parks are also on site minimising the need for on-street parking and drop off and pick up times are usually staggered across the mornings and day so therefore traffic will be staggered too.”

Mr Lippiatt said some building aesthetics had also been altered including decreasing the height of the building by a metre and implementing neutral tones in the design.

He said there were no plans to alter the public accessway at this stage of the proposal. This would be a consideration as the site further develops.

Embracia Victoria previously told the Express it vowed to engage heritage architects, cultural heritage consultants and other experts to oversee a faithful restoration, ensuring the preservation of the social, architectural and historical importance of the heritage-listed building.

Macedon Ranges Shire Council is expected to decide on the childcare centre proposal at its ordinary April meeting.