Units could damage heritage buildings

Units could damage heritage buildings

August 2017 | Sharon Webb

MEANDER VALLEY Councillors have approved plans to build two new units in Deloraine despite local residents’ concerns that the earthworks involved could damage adjoining heritage housing.

The debate at the July council meeting led to Cllr Ian Mackenzie commenting that the Heritage Council needed to “get off its backside and get these buildings listed.”

Mr Mark Butson, a structural design engineer and owner of the former Catholic presbytery building in West Goderich St, asked council for time to consult the Heritage Council and the National Trust to seek advice on the issue.  Council denied his request.

The proposed units fronting onto Parsonage St on an internal lot are adjacent to four other units.

Town Planner Justin Simons told councillors that as the lot was not heritage listed there was no legal mechanism by which Meander Valley Council or the Tasmanian Heritage Council could consider or influence its development on heritage grounds.

“It is also noted that while they may have heritage values none of the adjoining properties are heritage listed or formally protected in any way.”

The heritage houses, all on Parsonage and West Goderich Streets, include Blake’s Manor, Bromley, Thornfield, the Catholic Church and school, as well as Georgian cottages in Parsonage St.

Mr Butson said four houses dating from circa 1900 also adjoined the proposal and that the two streets involved originally were the main streets in Deloraine, with underground tunnels between the Catholic Church and Blake’s Manor still existing.

“This proposal would not be sympathetic to this important heritage area and could impact on the heritage of Deloraine, which is listed as a heritage town by the National Trust.”

In a letter to council, Mr Butson said that earthworks and vibration and compaction of the floor pads and retaining walls pose a serious risk of damages to adjoining houses.

“Some have bluestone foundations and lathe and plaster walls and ceilings.  These works have a high risk of damage to these houses.  If this (development) proceeds, these houses would require inspection reports before and after, to detail damages and legal liabilities to the developers.

“We, the owners of these houses, are seriously concerned for any damages that may occur to our houses.  We have all spent huge sums of money restoring our homes and don’t want to see hard work destroyed.”

While Cllr Michael Kelly said he had no issues with the development, Cllr Deb White asked why council was unable to take a more active role in protecting the amenity.

Mr Simons said generally damage was a civil issue but said council could meet the developer “to put these issues on the table.”  In reply to Cllr John Temple’s query about whether council could consider the impact of the proposal on the streetscape, Mr Simons said council had no authority to consider visual impact.

Council Manager Martin Gill said that while council was not able to mandate pre and post inspections, he would let the developer know his obligations under the Building Act.