|16 George St, New Norfolk.|
At the council meeting held in June, Cr Ben Shaw successfully moved that the general manager prepare a request to the Planning Minister to remove the heritage listed reference of 16 George St, New Norfolk. At the time, Cr Shaw said the property was up for sale but potential buyers were being deterred because of its local heritage listing. He said the house had been heritage-listed in error and the homeowner had not been informed at the time. He said the estimated cost of up to $4000 to remove the heritage status should be borne by the council.
In a report to the November council meeting, corporate and community services manager Mark Eady recommended that councillors proceed by authorising the general manager to pay all costs associated with an urgent amendment to remove the house from the list of heritage places in the Derwent Valley Interim Planning Scheme.
Mr Eady said this would cost the council a minimum of $3500 if it agreed to request an urgent amendment, but the costs could increase to $10,000 if the urgent amendment was not approved by Planning Minister Roger Jaensch and the council opted to proceed to a full planning scheme amendment.
Mr Eady also warned that the council risked creating a precedent that might encourage similar heritage listing removal applications, which would dilute the effectiveness of the local heritage register.
In his report, Mr Eady said the house was not listed in the 1987 version of the council's heritage register but it did appear on the 1993 edition as a property of significance, separate to the conjoined cottages next door. He said there were no records available to show whether the owners had been directly notified of their property being listed but the Planning Schemes had been publicly advertised in both 1997 and 1993, allowing the opportunity for public comment.
Cr Paul Belcher moved that the council proceed as per Mr Eady's recommendation, but added a clause requiring the general manager to enter into an agreement with the owner of the property to recover the costs once the property was sold. This was seconded by Cr Martyn Evans.
Cr Julie Triffett said she had just come from a Historical Information Centre committee meeting, where it had been suggested that a caveat be put on the property title to ensure that the costs of removing the heritage listing were recovered. Cr Triffett said she felt Cr Belcher's proposal would have the same effect.
"This has been really hard for me because here's a lady [the owner of 16 George St] that I've known most of my life and is in dire straits and various financial things, so it's been really difficult for me to come to terms with this," Cr Triffett said. A voice from the public gallery interjected: "That shouldn't matter," followed by various voices commenting while Cr Shaw shushed them from the chair.
Cr Anne Salt said she had not intended to support Mr Eady's recommended action but she was prepared to agree with Cr Belcher's suggestion. "My concerns were around setting a precedent, not knowing how many more heritage properties we have, and the risk to council in carrying someone else's costs."
Cr Shaw said it was important to note that the proposal related to only one cottage on the site, not all the buildings there. "So the two-storey property would remain," he said.
The motion was carried unanimously when put to the vote.