DEMOLITION: Chris Richards pictured outside the Church Street, Maitland residence now earmarked for demolition. PICTURE: Jonathan Carroll.Local heritage conservationistChris Richards said a decision to demolish an old Maitland home to make way for four units has brokena long-standing precedentfor council.
Maitland councillors voted last night to demolish No. 83 Church Street, Maitland, a move Mr Richards said will have developersrubbing their hands in glee.
Mr Richards told Fairfax Media earlier this week that in the past, when buildings in Maitland’s heritage zones havebeen recommended for demolition, they are run down propertiessubstantially modified over the years.“Thistime it’s different,” hesaid. “This property is original, in good restorable order and in a conservation zone.”
Councillors argued on Tuesday night whether or not to defer an officer’s recommendation for the property’s demolition and construction of units.
Cr Robert Aitchison moved an amendment to defer making a decision, pending a fresh design for the proposed units.
“There are too many boxes unticked,”Cr Aitchison said.
He said he could see aesthetic issues in regards to the new unit design.
“I’m not against development but is this the best design,” he asked.
“This is something that is setting us up for the future if we get this wrong.
“It should be deferred for two weeks to see if we can get a design more fitting to the entry of the city.”
Cr Ken Wethered agreed with Cr Aitchison’s concerned about aesthetics describing the proposed unit design as “just a box.”
Cr Arch Humphery who moved the officer’s recommendation for demolition and unit construction, said some councillors were questioning the integrity of council officers who had done their homework and worked at length with theproponent to get it right.
“What are we going to do, just leave the house there and let it fall down for the sake of someone saying it has heritage value,” Cr Humphery said.