Heritage value ignored

COUNCIL has declared a building at 61 Mount Street is not of heritage value and the owner can proceed with his plans to redevelop the property.

Council staff had suggested the property be declared a building of historic significance.

Because the house was listed on council’s Draft Municipal Heritage Inventory, council sought advice.

Its heritage advisor said the house had ‘townscape value’.

“While its context has been much changed, the place is an important artefact from the Gold Boom period, which contributes to the townscape value of Mount Street,” the advisor said.

However, the Heritage Council of WA has not listed the property on its register of heritage places.

Councillor Judy McEvoy moved the property not be considered heritage.

Councillor Laurance Goodman said the owner had bought the building checking it was not heritage listed.

“If we want to retain good properties then the Heritage Council or National Trust have to list them. They’re the experts,” Mr Goodman said.

He said, by declaring the building had heritage significance, council would hamstring the owner’s plans to redevelop the property.

Mr Goodman said it would also deny the applicant the ability to claim compensation.

Councillor Noel Semmens said the situation highlighted council’s need to sort out its Draft Municipal Inventory of Heritage Places quickly.

“I think that would save us a lot of problems down the track,” Mr Sem-mens said.

Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass said he thought it was inappropriate for something from the draft inventory to come before council.

“This is not something recognised by council,” Dr Nattrass said.

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