Heritage exodus

A tree-lover convinced Bayswater council to shunt this pine into a higher heritage character, but they didn’t let the owner know.  Photo: National Trust.

Council didn’t alert tree owner 

OWNERS of historic properties are starting to pepper Bayswater council to get their places off its heritage list.

In February the council added dozens more properties to its heritage list, giving them some statutory protection against demolition.

The decision followed a long consultation process but some owners said they never received letters advising them their property was list-bound. 

A few complained ahead of the February meeting and got the listing cancelled, and now more are coming forward to get off the list.

Masonic Hall

The owner of the 1937 Druid/Masonic Hall at 130 Guildford Road was able to get the property off the list in June, arguing it was dilapidated and hadn’t been used as a hall since the 90s. Council staff wanted to keep it on the list but only Cr Elli Petersen-Pik voted for its retention, and it’s now free to be developed.

Two more unlisting requests face the council at its next meeting on July 21.

The owners of the 10 Falkirk Street want the circa-1925 cottage off the list so it can be demolished for a bigger family home. 

Council staff recommend keeping it on the list, noting the lowish classification (category 3) won’t outright prevent redevelopment, but encourages an adaptation. They also don’t reckon a listing hurts prices.

Another resident has requested the unlisting of the 105-year-old pine tree on their property at 35 Drake Street, planted by prominent early citizen and road board member John Whittaker. The Norfolk Island pine is considered to have “state” level significance by the National Trust.  

When the council advertised the upcoming listings, the tree was only going to be “category 4”, which just puts it on the separate “Heritage Survey” document of notable places and doesn’t have the legal protection of being one of the category 1, 2 or 3 places on the official “Heritage List”.

But an interested history buff put in a submission about the tree being an important historic landmark so council listed it as category three without going back to the owner, who’s complained due process wasn’t followed. They don’t want it on either the survey or the list.

Oversight 

Council staff are recommending it stay listed as a category 3, but after a 21-day consultation to correct the “oversight” of not asking the owner about the upgrade to the big list.

Given the requests trickling in, the council’s looking at coming up with a proper policy to handle removal requests.

They’re browsing over other councils’ removals policies, including South Perth where they don’t allow for list removals, and Vincent where you can get a property off the list if it’s deteriorated so badly it can’t be restored and has no more heritage value (but that might get you in trouble if you’ve purposely neglected it).

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