Bunbury Council votes to preserve heritage

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times

Prominent Bunbury realtor Stan Clifton has accused City of Bunbury staff of not fairly considering a house demolition application before the proposal was refused.

Mr Clifton made an 11th hour presentation to Bunbury City Council last week when it considered the demolition application.

The owners of the Charles Street home – located in the Stirling Street Heritage Area and a draft East Bunbury Heritage Area – claim the property is beyond repair and the only option to make it liveable is a rebuild.

Mr Clifton is representing the owners and told the council the house had been empty for the past 12 years and a redevelopment would benefit the area.

“The intention here is to replace the building with a building of similar façade, which will retain the street amenity,” Mr Clifton said.

“(It will) enable the owner to maximise the use of the land area to enjoy a modern internal design with off-street parking and reusing some of the internal fittings.

“This area contains some beautifully presented old homes, this one has never been in that category even before the current owner purchased it.”

The application is not the first the council has considered in the Stirling Street area with the owners of a similar heritage home in Austral Parade successfully pleading for their demolition to be supported in August last year.

Mr Clifton said because staff had not seen the redevelopment plan, it had not been fairly considered.

“Council staff recommended the demolition request should not be granted, however council would not allow the proposed plans for the new residence to be submitted formally,” he said.

“It is my submission council staff have not fairly considered the demolition of the existing building with its proposed replacement.”

Mayor Gary Brennan – who voted against the recommendation to refuse the demolition – told the South Western Times the council did not make decisions lightly and he hoped a solution could be reached.

“We don’t take any decision lightly,” he said.

“The city council respects the right of property owners to carry out works to their property providing it’s lawful,” Mr Brennan said.

“In this instance there was a concern that the heritage of that area would be impacted negatively, notwithstanding the owner’s representative also made a plea that the proposed replacement residence would faithfully reflect the heritage of the area even though it would be a contemporary building.

“So on this occasion the city voted not to support demolition.

“Council’s made a decision to not approve a demolition for that property and I would expect the property owner and their representatives would continue dialogue with city officers to seek a solution which is acceptable to both parties.”

The council voted 7-4 to not support the demolition.

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