White flag over demo

STIRLING council’s attempts to block the demolition of a 1923 house on Third Avenue has been smacked down by the state administrative tribunal.

The house is in a “heritage protection area” and places older than the 1960s are supposed to be retained, but following SAT orders to reconsider it the council has now run up the white flag and approved the demolition application by owner Darren Cooper.

Mr Cooper’s consultant Heritage Intelligence pegged the age of the building as around 60 years, but the council’s own consultant found its original construction was in 1923 and the 50s-look was simply alterations.

• Stirling council says this house is worth saving. The state administrative tribunal disagrees and it’ll now go. Photo by Steve Grant

• Stirling council says this house is worth saving. The state administrative tribunal disagrees and it’ll now go. Photo by Steve Grant

The consultant’s report argued the place “has no cultural heritage significance to the City of Stirling”, the 70s aesthetic dominates and the old-timey appeal is long lost.

The report also argued Third Ave’s streetscape isn’t intact, as there’s a big two-storey place next door and elsewhere there’s car parks and school playing fields blotting the landscape.

Fear of a costly and drawn out appeal is palpable in the report staff prepared for councillors: They note that if council denies the demolition “it is likely that the city will be required to defend the decision at a full SAT hearing. The city will also be required to engage legal representation if the matter proceeds to a full hearing… the total costs will likely be in excess of $20,000.”

With that potential expense waiting in the wings the council gave it the go ahead to bring in the bulldozers, not even raising it for discussion at Tuesday’s meeting last week.

by DAVID BELL

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