Demolition hearing for Peppermint Grove mansion looms

LAWYERS have been told that unless they can agree, the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) will set the date for a full hearing about the disputed demolition of an unfinished mansion owned by Radhika Oswal in Peppermint Grove.

“Now I anticipate you won’t agree, so in 14 days I’ll impose it,” SAT senior member Maurice Spillane said, at a second SAT directions hearing last Tuesday.

Mrs Oswal is appealing a Peppermint Grove Council demolition order for the mansion, left incomplete since 2011, after the council declared it uninhabitable in December last year.

Mrs Oswal’s Perth lawyer, Julius Skinner, said mediation could be inhibited by inability to get expert advice about the repairs, refurbishment and eventual completion of the mansion mooted by his client.

He said Mrs Oswal’s Sydney lawyers told him a day before the hearing that an initially contracted architecture and building engineering adviser was now unavailable.

Mr Skinner said despite his client wishing to “move the matter along” to mediation, the council’s request for dates and details for repairing and completing the mansion were further complicated by a Victorian legal action about the property’s mortgage and an ATO asset freeze on the property.

He said repairs could take two years to complete .

“Where that leaves us is that the status of the property is much in limbo at this time, and may end up in the possession of the Commissioner of Taxation,” Mr Skinner said.

Shire lawyer Digby Robinson said mediation would be “more productive” if details of the proposed repairs and completion of the mansion were provided by Mr Skinner.

Mr Robinson said the council wanted to know Mrs Oswal’s financial ability to do the work and its timing, and be given senior lawyers’ opinions on whether the Victorian case could affect ownership.

The lawyers were told by Mr Spillane to discuss mediation opportunities, and to advise him on a suitable full hearing date at a third directions hearing on June 23.