Monday, May 7, 2012

Willow Court heritage sales hit

THE proposed sale of a further three buildings at Willow Court would further diminish the integrity of the historic precinct, Tasmanian Greens MHA Tim Morris said yesterday. Just one day before the formal handover of its new agreement with the State Government, the Derwent Valley Council on Saturday called for expressions of interest in the purchase and redevelopment of Wards D, E and G, adjacent to the Willow Court oval.

Mr Morris said that with former deputy premier David Llewellyn set to take charge of a new management committee that will oversee and drive the preservation and redevelopment of the historic Willow Court at New Norfolk, it was likely that noticeable progress would at last be made after a decade of delays and procrastination.

“I have had some very productive discussions with [Heritage] Minister Brian Wightman and the Derwent Valley Council in recent weeks, and I am convinced that there are good prospects for substantial progress to be made at last," Mr Morris said. “The recent work that has been undertaken by the volunteers of the Friends of Frescati shows what can be achieved by a small group of people with a clear vision and the backing of the council,” he said.

“I remain concerned that the council intends to try to sell off three more buildings which will potentially further diminish the heritage value of the site because they will not have adequate control over the future use of that area.”

Mr Morris also called on the council to consider integrating the maintenance of the site grounds and streets into its regular works program. He said the council had refused this idea, based on a decision made several years ago that it would not use any resources from its own budget to care for the site. “I strongly urge the council to revisit this decision as the site is a valuable asset for the municipality and that value will be maximised if the site is properly maintained.”

“Willow Court is an important heritage site for all of Tasmania and I will do everything I reasonably can to assist in its protection,” Mr Morris said.

The decision to attempt to sell the buildings adjoining the oval was made before the destruction of Ward F by fire. Expressions of interest have been sought and rejected on several occasions in the past.


  1. That's great news! This site needs to be protected.

    1. The Devils AdvocatedMay 9, 2012 at 8:44 AM

      You're right, it does need to be protected ....from the DVC!!!

    2. I hope they do sell the buildings around the oval, all very fine for Morris to shoot his mouth off now, but he's the one who got us into this in the first place. (abusive text deleted).
      I have heard he has volunteered his expertise to the new committee. I hope that David Llewellyn is looking for people who have something to offer. Not some lazy politician.
      The devils advocate might like to volunteer, seems to be an expert on everything.

    3. Not a Green lover, but sometimes a sympathiser, I do have to stick up for Tim Morris who DIDN'T get 'us' into 'this' at all. Responsibility lays solely with the 10 years worth of DV Councillors (including various Mayors)and the general manager who failed to manage the site properly. Do let's be fair. I really hope that David L can lead a team of proficient people to attain a good result.

    4. In reply to Di, it was Tim Morris the then Mayor of the Derwent Valley who agreed to purchase the site from the then Bacon labour government, the government and Tim Morris should have known that the Derwent council did not have the money available to properly develop the site, and they had no expertise to do the job. I to hope that David Llewellyn can lead a team to achieve a result, I do hope that no one is disillusioned enough to think that this will be fixed overnight it will take a big bucket of money and hence my hope that council can sell of the buildings and the oval. It is my understanding that the general manager is responsible for implementing the decisions made by the councillors and Mayor, as such I’m not sure we should be so ready to lay blame at his feet, just a thought.