City heritage under review

The historic Wellington Street building, owned by Central City Pty, of which Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi and her property developer husband Joe are shareholders, could be included in a database of areas identified by the City as having potential significant heritage value.

The proposed new heritage assessments and registrations planning policy would make it harder to knock down the buildings.

Councillor Reece Harley said at a planning committee last week that he highly commended the new policy.

‘Having a clear direction about heritage nomination is a good thing,’ Cr Harley said.

‘We are not going to go around and cherry pick buildings we want to keep but initiate a system where council can properly assess buildings.’

Under the current policy, the City considers only buildings that have been nominated by landowners or the State Heritage Office as having significant heritage value.

If the building is not nominated, a demolition application can be applied for without assessment.

The new policy would allow any owner, community member or interested party to nominate a place or area to the City’s Heritage Register.

However, not everyone likes the recommendations.

Rowe Group planning manager Alan Stuart presented a deputation at the meeting on behalf of the owners of 383 Hay Street, a 1920s art deco building known as Campbell House, which was put on the market in early February.

‘The owners are very concerned about these recommendations,’ Mr Stuart said.

‘They do not support the listing of their property as redevelopment is imminent.’

Creator of Facebook and Twitter page Museum of Perth, Dallas Robertson, said the fact that the owners of Campbell House knew they had a rare building in their possession and were opposed to the proposal showed how much leeway developers expected, regardless of cultural importance of a building.

‘For more than 60 years, the council has generally favoured developers’ demolition proposals over other viable options such as adaptive reuse and restoration,’ Mr Robertson said.

‘Why is demolition their only option? The 90-year-old facade of Campbell House could easily be incorporated into a new design, benefiting both the owner and the children of future Perth long after the developers have pocketed their profits.’