Council plan to protect 1970s ˜heritage units over-the-top

30 November 2008

Ashfield Councils plan to list an unexceptional 1970s town house complex as heritage, is only the latest example of homeowners being hit by heavy handed heritage laws, according to the Urban Taskforce.

Despite the objections of residents, Ashfield Council last week voted to heritage-list town houses at 32 Chandos St, Ashfield.


The council says the building is “late 20th century Sydney regional” style and notes the general exterior colouration is purposefully neutral”.


The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel said that the proposal to list the Ashfield unit block is yet another case of modern homes being elevated to ˜heritage status by local councils.


Councils were getting away with blue murder at the expense of home-owners, Mr Gadiel said.


Many of the 25,000 properties that have been placed on local heritage lists should never have been included, he said.


Only last year, the NSW Government had to intervene to stop Parramatta Council heritage-listing 12 ordinary 1960s and 1970s homes in Toongabbie and Epping.


Mr Gadiel said that owners of heritage listed homes face the devaluation of their property by tens of thousands of dollars.


Theyre also burdened by new restrictions meaning it is extremely expensive, if not impossible, to undertake even minor renovations such as modifying the kitchen, changing internal walls, or installing a pay TV aerial.


Local heritage listings dont just affect the listed property they can affect neighbours too.


Once a single property in a street is heritage listed, neighbouring properties can be blocked from making changes to their homes that alter the streetscape.


Low-impact development proposals like the expansion of local schools are routinely held up by phony claims of ˜heritage.


Mr Gadiel said the heritage laws were being abused.


Local councils are increasingly trying to list average redbrick homes as ‘heritage’, Mr Gadiel said.


“No council should be able to march in and declare a modern suburban home as heritage without the owners permission,” Mr Gadiel said.


Mr Gadiel said the latest move from Ashfield council made NSW Government action its review of heritage laws even more urgent. In March this year a panel of experts released a report recommending new rules to guide the heritage listing process.


These proposed rules should build on the government planning reforms, and allow appeals on heritage listings to an independent planning arbitrator.


The experts also wanted heritage properties to enjoy some of the standard exemptions from planning rules enjoyed by other home owners.


This reform will make life easier for home owners living in heritage listed properties.


The government should move to implement them as soon as possible.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.



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