PCC probes ‘heritage’ house demolition

PERTH City Council is investigating the demolition of a 19th century West Perth house amid a rush of land clearing in the area.

PCC CEO Garry Hunt confirmed council was looking into the matter “in order that the council can give due consideration once in full possession of the facts”.

In the past year council has approved the demolition of several old West Perth houses even though its heritage advisor said they had heritage significance.

Developer Bob O’Brien wants to create a residential and office develop-ment worth $4.9 million at 45 Ord Street, the site which the council is examining.

His development application was deferred by council at its November 14. Councillor Lisa Scaffidi moved the deferral saying she had been informed the building there had been torn down without a permit.

Mr O’Brien said the demolition was nothing to do with him as he was only in the process of buying the land.

Council staff had recommended the development for approval and had listed the site as vacant.

The building that was there had been renovated about three years ago and was listed on council’s Draft Municipal Inventory of Heritage Places.

The Heritage Council of WA can only stop a building’s demolition if it is listed on the WA Register of Heritage Places and it still has a considerable backlog of buildings to work through. Until a building is added to its list, the Heritage Council can only recommend to a local government that a building be kept.

The PCC was supposed to give its heritage inventory to the Heritage Council five years ago. However, the PCC has only just released that register for public comment.

Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass said a permit had been issued for the demolition of 45 Ord Street 18 months ago.

Demolition permits are only valid for 12 months but Dr Nattrass said he believed internal demolition works had begun within the required time.

He said heritage issues were a big concern to people who had bought properties in West Perth with plans of redeveloping them to support them in their retirement.

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