Since arriving in this fine country from England, aged 13, it was abundantly clear that preservation of buildings was never high on anyone’s agenda. Unfortunate not just for history’s sake but also financially as well, because without historical buildings an area will often struggle to form an identity.
I’d argue that it is identity and heritage which ultimately leads to capital appreciation; just perhaps not the short term gains a developer is interested in. Certainly, as this paper concludes, “heritage legislation does not have a negative impact on the property value”.
Fortunately there are groups like the Mount Lawley Society which fight for preservation. I have long admired their efforts and also tried to support them whenever possible as the following from the March Council meeting shows:
For the wider area of the City of Bayswater I also successfully moved “That a report be presented to Council, which addresses aspects relating to how the City of Bayswater will demonstrate its commitment to heritage protection and management within the City of Bayswater including, but not limited to, developing a suite of policies and procedures.” This resulted in an in-depth review of our character protection areas and guidelines which will soon be released for public consultation and comment.
Regardless of the above though, perhaps the biggest threat to any area preserving its unique identity is from ‘multiple dwellings’ and the problems they can cause when allowed to occur in quite residential zones. That’s why I moved at December’s Council meeting that …
This was a close vote and only just got up. There will now be community consultation on what you think is the best way forward. If the public agrees that multiple dwellings need to be better controlled, then ultimately the City will need the Minister for Planning to give his stamp of approval on the change. The mere fact that the Department of Local Government has acknowledged an issue, as illustrated by their plans to adjust the rules for multiple dwellings on R30 and R35 blocks, gives me hope.
Heritage is a controversial topic. One can rightly argue that they are ‘king of their castle’ and have a right to bulldoze their building if they so wish. On the flip-side, should not an elected representative consider the implications of this on the wider community? I suggest that the wider community has a right to ensure the amenity, streetscape and uniqueness of their area is protected, and that it is their elected representative’s job to ensure this happens.
I believe we just need the rules in place, and fortitude to stick by them, so that anyone who purchases a property in a particular heritage/character protected area knows what is permissible and what is not.
Power to the people.
Please be aware that these views are my own and have not been endorsed by the City of Bayswater.