Horsham residents opposed to the city's town hall and performing arts centre redevelopment remain concerned about parking and funding, despite the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal approving the project.
The $17-million development will feature a foyer connecting Wilson and Pynsent streets, a 531-seat theatre, a refurbished art gallery and a cafe.
Objector Graham Gerlach said it was a huge task to take on Horsham Rural City Council by opposing the project.
"Obviously we are disappointed by the VCAT chairman's interpretation of the case and his decision," he said.
"In particular we are disappointed for those who own and occupy properties near the town hall because all car parks, including disabled, behind the town hall will be removed and built over."
Coller Rathgeber Property Group's Tim Coller, whose business adjoins the Pynsent Street development site, was one of four original objectors to the project but did not proceed with VCAT action.
"The former council approved this project so I think this new council needs to have a long hard look at the project, especially at the finances," he said.
"It is never too late to change your mind and our council has to make a decision on something decided by a previous council. The former council put a $17-million seal on the project but what happens if it exceeds that?"
Mr Coller said he doubted whether ratepayers supported the project.
Almost 800 people responded to a Wimmera Mail-Times poll online between Friday and 4pm yesterday.
More than 81 per cent of readers voted against the development, 17.4 per cent voted for it and 0.8 per cent were unsure.
“I don’t think any of the people who objected to this project disagree that Horsham needs a performing arts centre
but there are major flaws with the project and faults with the site,” Mr Coller said.
“I think the fact that this has dragged on for so long shows that the ratepayers aren’t happy with the project that has been put up.”
Horsham Rural City Council chief executive Peter Brown said people had to accept the expert opinions of traffic consultants and VCAT.
“I think people need to be mindful that traffic and parking experts have looked at this, as well as two senior, experienced members of VCAT, who have both concluded that parking is not an issue,” he said.
“There are a number of people who have taken an entrenched view of the town hall project and I don’t think they are going to change their minds after four years.”
Mr Brown said council would do a bill of quantities, which details the cost of materials and labour needed for construction, to ensure the project was completed within its $17-million budget.
“What we have put in place is what I think is a careful design and we have minimised the risk of cost over-runs,” he said.
Mr Brown said council would also apply for a $500,000 State Government grant to fund streetscape works in Wilson and Pynsent streets.
“We have budgeted to fund streetscape works, drainage and some powerline works but the government grant will improve that substantially,” he said.
“We would do all the works originally planned if we don’t get the grant.
“If people have concerns about this project, they are welcome, as they have been all the way through, to come and talk to Angela Murphy or me.”