Australia Post has released plans to build a lift outside the historic Beechworth Post Office to help disability access, but has already been met with opposition from the public.
If approved, the lift would be 1.45 metres long and 1.1 metres wide, with a raised floor and hands rails, and be constructed outside the building structure.
Consultant company Currie and Brown lodged an application with Heritage Victoria to carry out works in the column section of the post office, while the final decision on constructing the lift will rest with Indigo Council.
The council also made its own submission to Heritage Victoria.
Mayor Jenny O’Connor told this week’s meeting councillors would carefully consider the works when the report came before them in October.
“There has been a lot of comment and contact made with council by people in the community who are concerned about this, so we are trying to get it to come to council as quickly as possible,” she said.
Beechworth resident Sandra Williams said there was no need to alter the facade of the building on Camp Street with the lift, when a more appropriate disabled access could be constructed at the back, accessed from Ford Street.
She said many large mobility scooters would not fit inside the lift as it was proposed, which Australia Post would have known if it held a forum to consult with disability groups.
“We’re so proud of our post office,” she said.
“This lift is going to extend a third of the way out of the footpath and have people will have to negotiate that in heavy pedestrian traffic.”
Christine Stewart also made an objection to Heritage Victoria, saying the iconic post office was the most photographed building in Beechworth because it was a great example of period architecture.
“When leaving the lift people will then have to negotiate getting through the two small, hard-to-open doors to the post office service area. It is difficult enough for able-bodied people to open these doors,” she said.
“Other options should be explored with the $95,000 proposed budget … We would like this planning permit rejected and other options investigated that meets nearly all the needs of everyone in our community.”