Bid to block heritage demolition

The amendment to the planning scheme, which was passed by the City’s planning and development committee last week, enables the City to issue orders to repair properties that were at risk of being demolished by neglect.

The changes would also allow the City to organise the repairs to be done and recover the costs from the property owner.

Demolition by neglect is the intentional process of allowing a building to become so dilapidated that it will facilitate its destruction. The proposed changes would affect properties on the City’s Heritage List or in the heritage protection areas of Menora, Mt Lawley and Inglewood.

Planning director Ross Povey said the City had no legal power to stop this process, with many rundown properties being demolished.

‘The amendment addresses the issue by providing the City with the ability to undertake early intervention by requiring repairs to properties, thereby preventing the demolition of heritage buildings through neglect and thus preserving heritage for generations to come,’ he said.

Property owners issued a demolition by neglect notice will have at least two months to comply. Owners will also be able to take the matter to the State Administrative Tribunal. A report to the City’s committee, showed the public mostly supported the changes, with 10 submissions in favour, one objection and two no comments received. The one objector was concerned about the cost imposed on property owners and reducing the appeal of heritage properties for buyers.

Those in favour of the changes said it offered more protection for heritage properties, would help preserve the amenity of heritage areas and stop anti-social behaviour associated with rundown properties such as squatting and vandalism.

If council passes the amendment, approval from the WA Planning Commission and the Minister for Planning will be sought.