Heritage rethink

VINCENT council will abandon its latest attempt to protect the character of its “Norfolk” precinct after admitting it still hasn’t got it quite right.

The council had initiated an amendment to its planning scheme to try and prevent ugly infill ruining the pre-1940s, single-storey streetscapes in the triangle bounded by Walcott, Vincent and Fitzgerald Streets.

It first tried to limit redevelopments to two buildings per lot with its 1998 planning scheme, but even after two rewrites for its second scheme in 2018, bigger developments have slipped through.

Council planners say there were four loopholes; a legal interpretation of “two dwellings” in the state act allowed more than two dwellings, decision-makers using discretion, planners not invoking the relevant clause and savvy owners sub-dividing lots into green titles which could each have two dwellings.

The council says the first three issues have been addressed, but sub-division continues to bug their ambitions. They also have no power to prevent the demolition of single homes under the latest state act.

“…there are many circumstances where character dwellings have been demolished and replaced with a new single house or two new grouped dwellings,” a report from the council’s planners read.

It said heritage listing was the only way to protect the pre-1940s stock, although it could also beef up its character retention policies if it could further define what makes the Norfolk precinct unique.

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