Heritage hurdle to development

Earlier this year, the Heritage Council of WA assessed the property at 92 Roe Street, which most recently housed the Tony Barlow offices, deeming it to be a place of significance.

A council report says the two-storey masonry factory and office building had cultural heritage significance as it was an example of rare inter-war art deco style, played a role in the development of the tobacco industry in WA, and involved the employment of many migrant families. It was also important because it was owned by prominent businessman Peter Michelides and was a remnant of light industry that once characterised Northbridge.

Graham Hardie, whose business Pelworth Pty Ltd has owned the building since 1986 when it was then the Peter’s Ice Cream factory, said at the City of Perth planning committee meeting that redevelopment of the site would be impossible to implement if it was added to this register.

He told the Guardian Express that he had received development approval for the site in 2009, but that had lapsed.

He planned to resubmit development plans after the City updated its plot ratio policies, which it did earlier this year.

Mr Hardie said a major supermarket chain had expressed interest in the site.

‘The place has been vacant for about 10 years and in the course of that time, the building has deteriorated,’ he said.

‘The assumption was that I would be able to demolish the building. If any part of the property is heritage listed, then the development will not be possible.’

A report to the planning committee says the site had social heritage value but the physical buildings did not warrant inclusion on the register.

‘It is considered that the case in relation to whether the building fabric does or does not have sufficient heritage significance, and whether it is sufficiently intact, to warrant inclusion on the State Register is unproven,’ the report says.

The planning committee agreed with the officers’ recommendation and council is expected to decide its position at tonight’s meeting. The final decision on whether to add it to the register will be made by the Heritage Minister.