Many people we’ve spoken to have said “isn’t that heritage listed” when they found out 10 Cowell St was to be sold to the developer and will not be protected
Here’s how it happened, as contributed by a member of Gladesville Community Group (Inc)
Extract from Email update sent from GladesvilleCommunity.com on 5 December 2013
Many of you will have heard a member of our group, Justin, speak about the timber cottage at 10 Cowell St, at previous meetings. He has provided this updated timeline to help explain this history of the timber cottage not being Heritage listed, against the views of Paul Davies who was engaged by Council to undertake a review, as well as The Hunters Hill Trust, and other organisations and experts who are interested in the preservation of items of Heritage significance.
In short, the expert engaged by the Council to review and make recommendations on Heritage listing of assets in the municipality did recommend that 10 Cowell Street be upgraded to a Heritage Listing. In the draft LEP 2012 which the Council publicly exhibited, 10 Cowell St was included as an item of local heritage importance, and given heritage listing under Schedule 5. However, when it came time to adopt the LEP, the Council removed the listing on the property, making it easy for a developer to demolish it and extend a shopping centre right across the site. When questioned, council said they hadn’t had enough time to review all of Paul Davies recommendations at that time, and that this property, along with others, would be reviewed subsequently. No review was undertaken since these events in 2012 prior to Council entering into Option Deeds – like contracts, which allowed the developer to force Council to sell the identified properties to them for pre-agreed price – WHEN and IF the developer wanted them. The review of the heritage listing of that property was not completed prior to lodgement of the DA, but it was eventually completed and the property at 10 Cowell Street received the first ever (and only) heritage listing in the Municipality of Hunters Hill that ‘excludes curtilage’. The Council had negotiated a deal, the details of which were kept secret because it was claimed ‘not in the public interest’ for us to know the details of the disposal of our land by use of Option Deeds, which allowed the developer to eventually buy this property from the Council in 2016.
It is important to note that during the council meeting back on 11th June 2002, the council defended the restoration project then undertaken by the council on 10 Cowell St. In the Report of General Manager, the council’s General Manager at the time (Barry Smith) is quoted as saying “…Council can now justifiably point to its own work as an example of what can be achieved in heritage and conservation building works”.
Hunters Hill Trust commentary on the handling of 10 Cowell St, Gladesville
Proudly preserving heritage since 1968, The Hunters Hill Trust has been a staunch supporter of the independence of Hunters Hill Council since inception, but that commitment was tested during the last attempt in 2016 to merge Hunters Hill with neighbouring Councils. The trust commented on the handling of 10 Cowell St, Gladesville, in a post linked below: “Councillors should be clear that this sell-off is probably the most significant of a number of reasons why The Trust has lost its enthusiasm for actively supporting Council in its fight to remain a stand-alone entity.”
You can find more information about 10 Cowell St from the Hunters Hill Trust at the links below, and others on their website.