‘Failed’ plan for Osborne House back on drawing board

DISAPPOINTED: Rieny Nieuwenhof and Cheryl Scott outside Osborne House.

by Luke Voogt

An Osborne House master plan that councillors and community groups say “failed” to detail the future of the iconic property is set for a redraft.

Osborne Park Association president Cheryl Scott welcomed council voting to “re-scope” the plans on Tuesday night.

“The majority of councillors responded to their community’s opposition to the current master plan that provides no direction for the future of Osborne House,” she said.

“That was point in the first place.”

The association, dedicated to protecting the heritage-listed property, has criticised “vague” and “broad-brush” plans since the release of preliminary drafts in March.

“It doesn’t actually provide anything on Osborne House and the stables – all of that’s been deferred to a business case,” Ms Scott said.

“They gave a whole lot of vague options of perhaps what could happen.”

In July 2018 council moved for consultants to produce plans for Osborne House and its stables.

But the master plan lacked specific details for redeveloping or restoring the buildings, Ms Scott said.

“None of those aims were presented with any confidence at the council meeting on Tuesday night. Had they followed the intent of the motion it would have been sorted.”

Councillor Eddy Kontelj, who moved the 2018 motion, and councillors Kylie Grzybek and Anthony Aitkin have publically criticised the plans.

Council voted six to two (three absent) against releasing the draft Osborne Park Precinct Master Plan to the community.

“That tells you something,” Ms Scott said.

“We said all along it didn’t reflect the council motion.”

The new master plan estimated a cost of $12 million to 15 million to redevelop the precinct.

“To do what? How is it going to be restored?” Ms Scott asked.

“Who knows because they haven’t done a business case. How can you quantify that amount if you don’t know what you’re going to do with the house?”

During Tuesday night’s meeting Kardinia ward councillor Pat Murnane slammed council for delaying the development of the precinct and doing “nothing”.

Mayor Bruce Harwood, who also voted to release the plans, said council officers conducted extensive consultation for them.

“They’ve missed the point of why it was rejected,” Ms Scott said.

Council spent $118,000 on developing the master plan including six drop-in sessions, 20 interviews with 40 stakeholders and two online surveys, which received 317 responses.

Officers would devise “an approach to re-scope” the plans by the end of October, Cr Harwood said on in statement on Wednesday.

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