Stop work order a lifeline for historic Wellington Point house set for demolition

HISTORY: The house at 3 Station Street has been approved for demolition.
HISTORY: The house at 3 Station Street has been approved for demolition.

UPDATE Friday

MAYOR Karen Williams says the state government will intervene to temporarily prevent the demolition of a historic Wellington Property.

Cr Williams wrote to Communities and Housing Minister Leanne Enoch earlier this week requesting a stop work order to allow time for other options to be explored.

The 1800s home was part of the historic Burnett estate.

It sold for $1.25 million in December, 2020.

Some community members have called for the property to be saved, but others said it was run-down and an eyesore.

Cr Williams said the order would prevent any work which could be detrimental to the property for 60 days.

Council had identified the property as having historical value and was in the process of adding it to the local heritage register.

UPDATE Wednesday

MAYOR Karen Williams has written to the state government requesting intervention in the demolition of a Wellington Point property that may hold local heritage values.

In her letter to the Minister, Mayor Williams said a heritage expert engaged by council had identified the 136 year old property as potentially having heritage value.

It is one of 49 sites being considered for inclusion in the local heritage register, which would help to conserve and protect them.

"We have consulted the community and are now working through the process to formally add these properties to the register, which included contacting the property owners," Cr Williams siad.

"This process is complex and includes a state interest review, meaning it will take some time to complete.

"Unfortunately in the meantime the properties are not protected and so there is a risk of some owners moving to demolish them before they are added to the register, which is what has occurred in this instance.

"I have asked the Minister to consider a stop work order to allow time for options to be explored to retain the property's heritage values and we have also spoken directly to the owners and asked them to reconsider the demolition while other options can be looked at."

EARLIER

RESIDENTS fear the history of the Redlands is being erased, with a Wellington Point home dating back to the 1800s set for demolition.

The impending demolition of the house at 3 Station Street has sparked debate about whether council's heritage protections are strong enough.

An application to demolish the home was approved by an external certifier in November 2020.

The home is one of the sites under consideration for inclusion on council's local heritage register, after a review of European heritage places was conducted in 2017.

The site has strong historical values and special associations with the development of the Redlands, according to a Redland City Council heritage citation.

The house is in the historic Trafalgar Vale Estate on land originally owned by Gilbert Burnett, one of the first European settlers in Wellington Point.

"Its appearance suggests its construction aligned with the formation of Burnett's sawmill industry of the 1880s," the citation says.

"It remains an example of an early settlement house in the local area, reflecting the pattern of development in Wellington Point.

"The house also retains aesthetic value as it is an intact example of an 1880s residence."

An application for a child care centre and two townhouses on the site was made in 2018, and attracted about 50 submissions opposing the plan.

The application was withdrawn in late 2019, and the property was sold the following year.

Division 1 councillor Wendy Boglary saidthe application for demolition highlighted the need for protections for heritage sites in the Redlands.

"If (the house) can't be renovated on site, my preference is for it to be moved," she said.

"No one can tell (owners) what to do on their property and until we have some kind of heritage policy in place, we don't have that protection.

"(We need) to protect all heritage sites in the Redlands including First Nations and European history.

"By protecting (these sites) we keep the values and character of the Redlands that we all moved here for, but we have to be respectful of the present owners and work with them."

Council is considering 49 sites, mainly privately-owned, for inclusion in the local heritage register, which would help to conserve and protect them.

Community feedback was given last year and a report will be presented to council to help them decide whether to progress with the amendment.

A council spokesperson said private owners of properties with potential heritage value could seek approval from a building certifier to remove existing buildings.

"Council is not required to approve the proposed demolition at 509 Main Road, Wellington Point and does not have the authority to prevent it.

"Once finalised, the major amendment process will ensure any proposal to demolish or remove property included on the local heritage register ... will require a planning assessment to ensure local heritage values are protected."

Cr Boglary said the heritage considerations should have been included in the City Plan in 2018.

"It's a shame that it's only being done now," she said.

Some residents mourned the loss of history, but others said the building had fallen into disrepair and property owners should be able to do what they wished.

Some called the house an eyesore.