Old Beechworth Gaol’s application to open for a drink and a bike ride

Plans have been revealed for a $1 million redevelopment of the Old Beechworth Gaol, including a licensed restaurant and bicycle education centre.

Contractors working on behalf of Precinct Destinations – and director Matt Pfahlert – have submitted a planning application to Indigo Council.

He was part of an investor group which purchased the old gaol in late-2016, and they have proposed to lease out unused sections of the building for community and tourism uses.

The pop-up cafe, allowing for a maximum of 50 patrons, would be opened in the main courtyard – if a liquor licence was granted.

“It is not expected that the licensed cafe will have any impact on the amenity of the surrounding area as it is located within the walls of the gaol building and therefore buffered from the neighbourhood,” the proposal states.  

A bicycle shop with two employees would be positioned at the front of the gaol, plus a separate education centre for bicycle training and maintenance would open in another section and have three employees.

Office spaces would take up some of the other disused areas of the old gaol.

The room previously used for prisoners’ conjugal visits would be converted into three unisex and one disabled toilet, for use by the public.

GRAND PLANS: A proposal submitted by developers to Indigo Council outlines how a pop-up cafe, education centre, office space and extra car parks would look at the Old Beechworth Gaol.

GRAND PLANS: A proposal submitted by developers to Indigo Council outlines how a pop-up cafe, education centre, office space and extra car parks would look at the Old Beechworth Gaol.

The plans also add an extra 49 car parking spaces at the old gaol, on top of 27 spaces already available at the front of the building, plus 11 bicycle spaces as required by Indigo Council.

“The proposed development contributes to increasing the municipality's investment potential and base,” the application states.

“The proposed minor works are compatible with the aesthetic character of the Old Beechworth Gaol, and, internal works have no detrimental effect on the cultural heritage significance of the building.”

Investors have also submitted an application to Heritage Victoria to complete the redevelopment, but have argued the plans support the existing heritage value of the site.

“The proposal optimises the use of the former Beechworth Gaol and is an innovative and adaptive reuse of the heritage building,” the application stated.

“Heritage buildings and places play a key role in the overall presentation, character and appearance of the shire and are enjoyed by residents and visitors alike, and must be protected and enhanced.”

The plans have been made available for the public to view at the Indigo Council offices in Beechworth and Yackandandah and any objections can be sent in writing before March 1.