New life for Jacksons Hill

By Jessica Micallef

Sunbury’s historic Jacksons Hill site is set for a major transformation as planning begins on a long-awaited community hub.

Four buildings on the site will be handed to Hume council to develop stage one of the Sunbury Community, Arts and Culture Precinct.

The 32-hectare Jacksons Hill site, which was previously owned by Victoria University, was purchased by the state government in December 2018.

As part of the sale, it was agreed four buildings would be handed over to the council to support the development of a community hub.

Current tenants, the Boilerhouse Theatre Company, Sunbury Primary School and Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Specialist School, will all remain on the site.

Hume mayor Carly Moore said the future transfer of assets to the council was a “significant step” to securing the historic site for the future.

“We know that the future use and development of the Sunbury Community, Arts and Culture Precinct is of great interest to our community,” she said.

“The council … looks forward to working with the community to realise this vision and its revitalisation.”

Sunbury MP Josh Bull said he was delighted the council would be able to provide the community with a “first class” arts, education and community precinct.

“We’ve always said that the Jacksons Hill precinct needs a vision and a new future,” he said.

Nine precincts have been planned on the site as part of the Victorian Planning Authority’s Master Plan for Jacksons Hill released last year, including an education and open space, arts and culture precinct, village green and a residential area.

The Victoria Planning Authority worked with community groups for 18 months to help shape the final plan to guide the site’s future use.

As part of the plan, heritage buildings on the site will be preserved and adapted for new use, including new housing. New buildings will be the same height or lower than existing buildings to protect the site’s character.

More than $17 million was allocated in the 2018-19 state budget to renovate the heritage buildings of three education and community facilities.

The funding included $10.8 million to renovate Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Specialist School, including expanding two of the school’s heritage buildings and $3 million to upgrade Sunbury Primary School.

Hume council received $3 million as part of the state budget funding