Wrecking heritage

THE demolition this week of a once-stately home overlooking Hyde Park has sparked concerns the floodgates have opened for the whole historic precinct to be surrounded by townhouses.

Museum of Perth chair Reece Harley has called on Vincent council to beef up its heritage protection, saying the line of old homes along Vincent Street provided a frame for the heritage-listed park and losing them would damage the area’s character.

“The whole street could go,” Mr Harley warned.

• Demolition of this circa 1914 home has Museum of Perth chair Reece Harley worried Hyde Park will end up being overlooked by rows of modern apartments. Photos courtesy Reece Harley

Neighbours were taken by surprise as the demolition crew moved in, which Mr Harley says is a problem created by a change to the planning laws in 2015 which mean developers don’t have to have new plans in place before demolishing.

The changes, introduced by the former Barnett government, forbid a council from knocking back a demolition request where there is no heritage protection in place.

“This means that there’s no public awareness before it gets demolished,” Mr Harley told the Voice.

“Before, when an application came before the council, neighbours or the local newspaper could pick it up, and it would allow a community to express its views on the matter and lobby their councillors.”

Vincent mayor Emma Cole called the demolition “incredibly sad”.

Demolishing

“I’ve recently met with residents of Vincent Street about trying to gain support for a character retention area around Hyde Park, starting with Vincent St,” she said.

“As well as lobbying the state government about bringing back ‘no demolition with development approval’.

“This is hurting us in Vincent.”

The house was once home to Perth city councillor J Farr, who represented the North Perth ward for more than 12 years, was patron of the local tennis club, president of Loton Park Bowls Club and a dog lover who was a regular contributor to the Society for the Protection of Animals.

by STEVE GRANT

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