Neglect fury

MUMBLINGS of “demolition by neglect” reverberated around Perth city council’s planning committee as councillors pored over an application to knock down three rapidly deteriorating buildings on Beaufort Street.

Westop Investments wants to demolish 108–120 Beaufort Street without a replacement plan. That’s usually a no-no, but it’s arguing it’s necessary because the places are dangerous and attract vagrants.

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Cr Reece Harley wasn’t happy with the way the owner had let the properties fall into disrepair: Just months ago two of the buildings had been inhabited by the People for Animal Welfare Society. Cr Harley says they would’ve been maintained if the landlord had allowed the PAWS folk and their vegan cafe to stay.

He says too many owners allow properties fall to pieces in order to pressure the council into permitting demolition.

“I’ve got not one iota of sympathy for the owner of this building because they evicted the tenants,” he told colleagues.

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“What did they think would happen?”

Crs Rob Butler and Judy McEvoy lodged “yes” votes to Cr Harley’s “no” and it’ll now go to full council for a decision.

The buildings could date back as far as 1897 but aren’t heritage-listed. Their connection to animal welfare is long-lived: Henry Edwards was a vet around the turn of the century and an early campaigner against animal cruelty, and was a key witness in cases where farmers were accused of abusing their stock.

by DAVID BELL

 

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