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Government NSW, Property Real Estate

HEIGHTS COMMUNITY IMPLORES TFNSW TO RESTORE HISTORIC PROPERTY TO PRIVATE HANDS RATHER THAN DEMOLISH

Kurrajong Heights Historic Group 4 mins read
Allambie in c1949 with its famous 10' verandah

KURRAJONG HEIGHTS COMMUNITY IMPLORES TFNSW TO RESTORE HISTORIC PROPERTY TO PRIVATE HANDS RATHER THAN DEMOLISH

 TfNSW tries to destroy the historic heart of Kurrajong Heights village 

It is 40 years since the Department of Main Roads acquired historic Allambie and started to try to destroy the listed building by neglect.  More than a decade earlier they purchased historic Woodside and demolished it.  Their excuse was the need to widen the road, something that has never happened. 

They have wasted a fortune in public money doing multiple studies to try to create a case for a major upgrade to Bells Line of Road.  In 2006 we had the Bells Line Expressway, in 2010 the Strategic Corridor Plan and then in 2018 the Motorway to the Kurrajong Heights Bowling Club.   

Each of these studies caused stress to locals, who suddenly faced the prospect of massive devaluations of their properties being intersected by a major road.  

Each of the studies failed for the same reason.  Traffic volumes on Bells Line have been static at around 3,500 vehicles a day for more than 20 years.  There will never be a business case to upgrade Bells Line when it serves a population of less than 1,000 people along its route between Bilpin and Dargan and the Great Western Highway serves 79,000.  

Even if the traffic volume reached 5,000 vehicles a day, that is the volume of a feeder road to an A road and will never help make the case for making Bells Line a multi lane highway. 

There is no valid reason for TfNSW to retain historic Allambie or all the other properties it holds along Bells Line of Road. 

But rather than return Allambie to private ownership and allow its restoration the then RTA submited a DA in 2006 (DA0956/06) to have Allambie demolished.  It did not succeed, and it was subsequently withdrawn and replaced in 2022 by DA0173/22 which again proposed the demolition of the heritage listed Allambie. 

The DA documents try and fail to make the case that Allambie is beyond restoration and has no historical value.  Council’s appointed Heritage Architect, Christo Aitken and their Engineer, Hari Govil both disagree and make the point that the Heritage Regulation 2012 requires the owner of a listed property to maintain it in good order, something TfNSW has consistently failed to do. 

The Kurrajong Heights Heritage Commitee was formed from a broad cross section of our community and prepared a submission to Council to support the case against TfNSW. 

This examined the viability of a restored Allambie and considered that its return to guest house accommodation would provide the greatest potential return and best serve the community.  We reviewed the current land value of the property at $498,000 and the potential value of Allambie if restored at $1.6 to $1.8 million.  This is based on local real estate agent’s estimates. 

The very idea that TfNSW could conceive that spending tens of thousands of dollars in submitting a DA, then a further $45,000 demolishing a historic building, rather than adding half a million to the state’s Treasury is completely scandalous.   

On Monday 20 November, Hawkesbury Council presented a well prepared and thorough Assessment Report to the Sydney West Sydney City Planning Panel opposing the DA to demolish Allambie.  It and the reports of Christo Aitken and Hari Govil may be downloaded from the Planning Panel website:  htps://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/planning-panel/demolition-heritage-item-allambie-cottages  

On Tuesday 21st November the mater was considered by Hawkesbury Council and discussed at length. There was universal agreement on the need to avoid the demolition of Allambie and a motion put forward by the Chair of the Heritage Commitee was passed.  It stated: 

Submited by: Councillor Wheeler 

NOTICE OF MOTION 

That Councillors: 

1. Strongly objects to Development Application DA 0173/22 Demolition of Heritage Item Allambie Cotages;

2. Note the numerous objections from the community, including the National Trust and Kurrajong Comleroy Historical Society, along with concerned local community members;

3. Note that Allambie has been allowed to deteriorate to a condition where the land holder, Transport for NSW, now views demolition as the most desirable outcome, contrary to their obligations under the Heritage Act 2004 and the State Agency Heritage Guidelines;

4. Note that Allambie holds an important place in the cultural and built heritage fabric of the Hawkesbury and wider region, including its role in Legacy's support of war widows and their families, its place in the visual amenity of Kurrajong Heights and its relationship to other heritage items in the Kurrajong Heights Heritage Precinct;

5. Prepare a verbal submission to the November meeting of the Sydney Western City Planning Panel strongly recommending against the demolition.

The DA comes in front of the Planning Panel on November 27th at 2.30pm.  Concerned residents may apply to join the videoconference by applying in writing to 

enquiry@planningpanels.nsw.gov.au and quoting PPSSWC-343 – Hawkesbury – DA0173/22. 

 

The heritage value of Allambie is beyond question.  It was listed in 1989 and was recognised in two separate LGA wide and regional heritage studies in 1984 and 1987. 

 

It has always played a central part in the guest house accommodation that made Kurrajong Heights a favourite destination for Sydneysiders, and which continues today.   

 

We would like to see Allambie returned to private ownership and restored to her pre-war state with the famous 10’ verandas.  The other land which was resumed alongside Bells Line of Road should also be returned.   

 

More information can be found on our Facebook Page:  Kurrajong Heights Heritage

 

Jeremy Braithwaite 

kurrajongheightsheritage@gmail.com 

Ph: 0416 222 112 

Thursday, 23rd November 2023 

 

Commitee submission to Council and Planning Panel: 

htps://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1n6EJfCBTOAm5588ZrzT_gTYPxo9y4oZd?usp=sharing


Key Facts:
  • It is 40 years since the Department of Main Roads acquired historic Allambie and started to try to destroy the listed building by neglect. 
  • RTA submitted a DA in 2006 (DA0956/06) to demolish Allambie. It did not succeed.
  • It was replaced in 2022 by DA0173/22 by TfNSW which again proposed the demolition of the heritage listed Allambie. TfNSW now views demolition as the most desirable outcome, contrary to their obligations under the Heritage Act 2004 and the State Agency Heritage Guidelines
  • The DA documents try and fail to make the case that Allambie is beyond restoration and has no historical value.  Council’s appointed Heritage Architect, Christo Aitken and their Engineer, Hari Govil both disagree.
  • 21 November - Hawkesbury City Council voted to  avoid the demolition of Allambie, and a motion put forward by the Chair of the Heritage Committee was passed.
  • The DA comes before the NSW Government Planning Panel on 27th November at 2.30 pm.

Contact details:

For interviews or further information, please contact: 

Jeremy Braithwaite kurrajongheightsheritage@gmail.com

Ph: 0416 222 112

 

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