Demolition of “Heritige Item”?

I was trawling Saturday’s paper when I noticed this in the list of development applications in Albury:

“10-2008-28961.1 542 – Hanel St – Demolition of residence (heritage item) and construction of dual occupancy”

Anyone know what this mean? What specifically is a “heritage item” in council jargon? Is it something that perhaps should not be demolished?

I’ve got no idea, but according to the ad the plans are on display at the council chambers for another 14 days, and any objections should be made in writing during that time.

Update: Dave from Albury took this photo of the “heritage item” in question. I doubt anyone will be objecting to it’s demolition:

The heritage item at 542 Hanel St. Do you know anything more about it?

The "heritage item" at 542 Hanel St. Do you know anything more about it?

Kate (a friend) raised the point that what can happen in situations like these is an owner might deliberately neglect a property in order to hasten it’s demise so that it can be demolished. I’m not saying this has happened here, but it is something to be wary of when dealing with requests to demolish heritage items.

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8 Responses to Demolition of “Heritige Item”?

  1. raydixon says:

    Something like that would have to go a council meeting for approval. It sounds like a heritage listed house and, in principle, I’m opposed to any such demolition. So if it were in Bright (which is unlikely as we have bugger all heritage listed buildings) I’d be (a) driving past the address (b) photographing it (c) checking out the plans (d) posting about it.

    I’d also get onto those groups who are interested in protecting our heritage. But over here there’s only Save Bright and they’re duds !!

  2. It’s in my neck of the woods, I’ll give it a look tomorrow and report back.

  3. Kieran says:

    Thanks Dave, if you could take a couple of happy snaps that would be wonderful.

    I might be able to get to Albury Council chambers on Friday to have a look at the development application. I’ll try and either get a copy to post or prepare a summary.

    Does anyone know how we find information on it’s heritage listing? It would be good to see the rationale on why it was listed.

  4. Kieran says:

    BTW, there is an extraordinary Albury council meeting on Thursday at 6:00pm at the council chambers. It’s about this Wareham bullsh-t, if anyone is interested.

  5. Well I think that the house in question is almost ready to fall down, no surprise that the owner wants it demolished. Next door is a set of three units, circa 1980, so the new development will probably improve the streetscape a bit.

  6. Kieran says:

    Yeah, I’d have to agree with that. It would be nice to keep some of the old miner’s cottages, but this one looks like most of the timber would need to be replaced.

    Thanks for the photo!

  7. raydixon says:

    Dave, that’s in Wandi !

  8. George Smith says:

    Interesting postings. The web site Society of Heritage Owners NSW has excellent background information about heritage listing systems.

    I would encourage anyone not to have a “if its heritage listed it has merit” knee jerk position. Reason? Local Councils have heritage listed a lot of items over the past 30 years which fail to meet even basic heritage listing criterion. The listing has come about because of local sentiment or sometimes an owner who simply wants to cachet or social status they associate with such a listing. The 2006 Federal government Productivity Report into Preserving Historic Heritage found that many local Councils had heritage listed items simply on the basis of a drive past or walk past ie,., without valid heritage criteria being used. The 2007 NSW Review of the NSW Heritage Act has also found that items on the state heritage list, which is supposed to be more valid, also have problems. For example, they have never been assessed against any accpetable heritage criteria before being listed, but were simply ‘inherited’ on the list.
    I would also urge people NOT to immediately commence with the idea that the owner has allowed the place to be subjected to “demolition by neglect.” There are nunerous cases in NSW where local heritage fans target a derelict property for heritage nomination and then once it is heritage listed. accuse the owner of demolition by neglect. What has in fact occured is that the items integrity was never tested as part of the Council heritage listing procedures as most heritage organiations and its members such as the National Trust NSW repeatedly state this should not be a factor taken into account. Now call me a bit suspicious if you like, but it is not the Australian way to target an item that is near to falling apart for heritage listing, refuse to allow its decrepit state to be taken into account when deciding whether to heritage list or not and then once it is listed, accuse the owner of demolition by neglect! Many items are also heritage listed when the owner is old and simply does not have the financial ability to pay specialist heritage workers ten times the going rate to undertake work. Local Councils have heritage funds to assist, but it is a drop in the ocean of the costs. There are therefore many older Australians living in heritage listed properties that are falling down around their ears or freezing in winter and boiling in summer, but they cannot get around the heritage rules to install air conditioning or they are forced to keep old, polluting wood burning fire places and are too frail to shop and cart wood in and out of the house. Some of their personal situations are hear breaking. So I hope before anyone jumps on the band wagon to persecute and harass an owner of such a property, they are extremely careful to check all the facts, including the actual validity or otherwise of the original heritage listing.

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