Friday, July 30, 2010

Rockdale District Heritage Association

THE BUGLE

July 2010

Issue Number 1

Heritage Conservation Sadly Lacking in Rockdale.


Here we go again, this association has unfortunately been thin on the ground for the past twelve months, but that’s about to change.

We are once again going to take the fight right up to Rockdale City Council as well as our invisible local MP Mr Frank Sator. Both council and our local MP seem to have lost all interest in any proper heritage conservation plans and in fact they seem to be more determined to allow developers to do what ever they want and to hell with the cities history.

This to me show a complete lack of understanding by both parties, we are currently seeing new development taking place all over the community that will destroy many fine period homes, and I know we will have people out there screaming that you can’t dictate style etc, but you can if it is done correctly. If we sit back and do nothing we will see some of the worst and cheapest developments pushed

through that will destroy for ever the beauty of Rockdale. There is also the other problem of people who are coming into the area, buying beautiful period homes and renovating them without any proper consultation, we have recently seen a 1890’s cottage in Earle Street Arncliffe lose its original slate roof only to be replaced with a modern slate look a like, why not just repair and re-nail the original it possibly would have been much cheaper and I bet the roofing company didn’t tell the new owners that they get about $15 for each of the old slates they took off.

They also removed the original Cedar front four panel door only to be replaced by a “Doors are Us” reproduction. People need to understand that it is better to keep as many original features as they can, this is what adds value to the home not modern bits that take value off it.

That is why we need to put pressure on Rockdale Council to bring back a Heritage Advisor to help people restore and renovate these old homes. Without these types of resources being made available to residents, we will see many more period homes ruined by ignorance and bad advice. Recently a number of people who own period homes that are on the councils Heritage List have asked that their home be removed from that list, some have actually been fortunate enough to have received a reply, other are still waiting months after writing to council. What is very interesting is that council, has now decided to

actually review its heritage list. When questioned it appears that Rockdale City Council are in the process of reviewing it’s heritage list. I spoke to a council officer who advised me that this review will be completed within the next couple of months and that the review is being undertaken by a person from the Department Of Planning’s Heritage Branch. The following is the email I received from council,

“As we discussed on the telephone today, please see below the scope of the

heritage review currently underway:

1. Overview

The objective of the project is to review the 1991 Rockdale Heritage Study by Terry Kass and Meredith Walker and to update the inventory sheets which relate specifically to the 282 items listed in the draft Rockdale LEP. The outcome of these tasks may lead to recommendations to change the listing

status of some of these heritage items. As part of the work the draft DCP controls prepared by Rockdale Council for the Draft Comprehensive DCP will also be reviewed and recommendations made for additions or changes. The end result of the project will be up to date information to accompany the new LEP; a document which will inform future development and strategic planning with regards to heritage conservation and inventory sheets to assist owners and Council staff with an understanding of the heritage value of the heritage items in the draft LEP.

2. Tasks

a. Review and update inventory sheets using the Heritage database software. Create updated State Heritage Inventory data forms for the 282 heritage

items in the draft Rockdale LEP. For each property the following will be undertaken:

. At least one external inspection; . a revised physical description; . an up dated condition assessment; . revised and expanded historical information; . property information from 1991 study will be checked on site; . assessment of the heritage significance of the property. b. Photograph each of the 282 properties. c. Research on each property in order to provide a brief summarized history with references for each property. The intention of the research is to find out the following: • When the place was built? • Who designed and /or built it? • Who was it built for? • For what purpose was it built? • Whether the persons associated with the place are notable historically. • Whether there are any events associated with the place that are notable historically. These questions provide information that helps to determine the heritage significance of a place. d. Review the 1991 Rockdale Heritage Study Report . Review the original recommendations and assess whether they have been actioned. Outline areas requiring further work arising from the above. . Review the study in the context of the new research done for the 2010 review and highlight areas where further research is required. e. Review the heritage objectives and controls in the Draft Rockdale Comprehensive DCP. f. Prepare Heritage Study report. The report will include: . The methodology used in the 2010 study review. . Summary of the review of the 1991 Heritage Study and recommendations arising. . Recommendations regarding the heritage provisions of the Draft DCP. . Recommendations arising from significance assessment of the 282 items. This may include recommendations to delist items. . Practical recommendations about the conservation of Rockdale’s heritage arising from site inspections and research.

I expect the Review to be completed in 1-2 months time. Following its completion, I am intending to put a report to Council advising of the findings of the Review and identifying the issues with current arrangements. Thank you for sharing you views with me and I have noted your

concerns regarding the Development Application process and the additional requirements placed on heritage items.

I trust the information above answers your questions regarding the Review, and hope that we can continue our dialogue on heritage matters.”


What amazes me is the scope of the review especially when they intend to review the Kass & Walker list which was rejected by the council back in the early 90’s. And if they are reviewing that list what are they going to do about the houses that were identified and have since been demolished like “Olivdene”. (see photo above) What is really puzzling is that the current list contains many properties that where never included in the Kass & Walker study but where included at the request of the owners. As to removing items Council passed a resolution back in the 90’s that basically allowed the owner to either agree or dis agree to having their house placed on the list. As that resolution still stands it should be simple enough to have your home removed once the new list is reviewed. I assume from the email that the council intends to speak to all the owners of those houses that are being reviewed. I am worried though that this will allow the original buildings identified by former Councillor Ron Rathbone to be removed including items such as Lydham Hall, Dapeto, or the other twenty odd that were on the original heritage list prior to the Kass & Walker study, if this were allowed to happen then this city would loose some Sydney’s most historic homes.

So if you are concerned then we would advise you to speak to council or your Ward Councillor to make your feelings known, because if this goes the same way as previous heritage studies then there is a good chance it will end up a real mess, especially if it is left up to the councillors to agree on the recommendations by the consultant.

Finally we are again looking to increase the membership. So if you know anyone who may be interested in joining then get them to drop us a email giving us a few details about themselves and we will place them on the mailing list of the Bugle. Also are there any members out there that would once again like to participate in our “Weekends Away” trips to country New South Wales. These are great fun and reasonably priced and we get to see a bit of the country as well as putting some money into local communities. So if you are please contact us as we could possibly be doing something before the end of the year.


REMEMBER

If you have anything you would like to share with the members please post it in and we will publish it in the newsletter




RDHA, PO Box 64 Arncliffe. NSW 2205 |http://rockdalecity.blogspot.com/

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