Inventory catches many out

It was revealed at Tuesday’s council meeting that not only had 3 Riverside Road been added to the inventory without the knowledge of its owners, so had councillor Matthew Handcock’s own home.

Cr Handcock said there was no information on the Town’s website about the inventory and when he searched via the WA Heritage Council website he found his own home had been added.

‘I did not have an opportunity to comment and this comes as a complete surprise to me,’ he said.

‘I cannot be the only citizen of this town who doesn’t know that they went on the inventory.’

East Fremantle chief executive Stuart Wearne said during the meeting the Town’s advice was that listing the properties to be added to the inventory in a council agenda was sufficient consultation.

After the meeting, Mayor Jim O’Neill said he believed the Town had met its obligations but more community engagement was necessary for the future.

He said there were more than 1000 houses on the inventory and just over 200 were added in the same year as 3 Riverside Road.

Cr Handcock made his comments in response to an application to demolish the Riverside Road home, which had been deemed to have Category A heritage significance, and which the council voted to refuse.

During the meeting, residents made emotive pleas to retain the house, citing its heritage value to the local community.

But owner Valerie Le Febre said the only reason the community had connected with the property was because of the renovations she and her husband had completed in 1987 purely to make it liveable.

She said it was not what community members were describing as ‘a grand heritage home’, it was only 150sqm, and other than an ensuite the only bathroom was accessed via the veranda.

‘We did suitable renovations and in doing so shooting ourselves in the foot,’ she said.

She said the house was added to the Municipal Heritage Inventory in 2006 without their knowledge, despite them having made a successful case for its exclusion from the inventory in 1996.

Cr Sian Martin said it was irrelevant that their property was not heritage listed when they bought it.

‘By that reasoning nothing would ever be heritage,’ she said.

To find out if your home is on the inventory search for your address at inHerit at the State Heritage Council website.