10 Cowell Street – recommended against heritage listing – to be resolved at Meeting 25th May 2015
Please find attached the relevant extract from the business paper for tomorrow’s Council Meeting (Monday 25th May) relating to the timber cottage at 10 Cowell Street.
We are disappointed to read the report from Council staff recommending that 10 Cowell Street not be listed, and hope that Councillors will move against the recommendation and resolve to pursue the heritage listing, consistent with Councillors previous resolution, and all credible expert opinion on the heritage value of the property.
We believe that any assessment of the relative merits of a development application, to be balanced against the heritage value of the existing property in-situ, should be made at the time of assessing such a development application. It does not seem right for Hunters Hill Council, so proud of its heritage protection, to start by denying the value of the property – to make it easier for a developer to proceed with an application to redevelop the site. The DA and the concept that we’ve seen for the site so far instil little confidence that the developer intends to balance community amenity suitably against their economic returns.
Questions about the process for the disposal of publicly owned land at the site
We also attach our questions to the Mayor and General Manager, about the process of valuing the land and entering into the option contracts, by choice, for the disposal of the public land – under which our land will be sold at the developer’s will. Copied below is the response from the General Manager.
It is important to note that the draft Local Environment Plan, which had been on exhibition and was in effect at the time of the s149 certificate being issued, included the heritage listing of the property at 10 Cowell Street. This document is noted in the s149 certificate as being the planning instrument referenced. Councillors have been told by senior staff (during Council meetings) that a draft Local Environment Plan is taken into account when a Consent Authority assesses a Development Application.
Response by Barry Smith, General Manager of Hunters Hill Council, below:
Thank you for your email of 3rd May 2015..
The email seeks a response to two questions.
The questions relate to:
1. The s149 certificate attached to the contract for sale of 10 Cowell Street.
In respect of the 149 certificate information relating to 10 Cowell Street was correct at the time of issue.
The building situated on the land at the time of issue was not a local heritage item at that specific time.
2. The instructions issued to the Valuer who undertook the valuation of a number Council properties, including 10 Cowell Street.
The purpose of the valuation was to understand the value of the property at its highest and best use, that is with ‘no constraints’.
The valuation was not provided as vacant land as there was and still is a building located on the land. At the time of writing its status was yet to be determined. Once determined that status may, or may not, impact on the value of the land.
The instructions were issued by the General Manager with the authority of Council.
Agreed Actions after SHHMC meeting
We also attach the Notes of the meeting between the Save Hunters Hill Municipality Coalition and senior representatives of Council, held on 2nd March 2015. We note that there has been no Extraordinary General Meeting, nor any sign of Council’s intention not to proceed with the sale of our land to this developer – the action listed at 6(b).
Fit for the Future / Amalgamation
Related, on Wednesday 6th May (2 & 1/2 weeks ago) Council ran a ‘consultation’ session on the current amalgamation drive by the State government, known as “Fit for the Future”. Approximately 75 people turned up and were mainly supportive of Hunters Hill Council remaining an independent municipality. One 50+ year resident gave due thanks to Phil Jenkyn and Ross Williams (conveners of the SHHMC, referred above) for their efforts in preserving Hunters Hill Council as an independent municipality, and went on to comment on the threat that performance has for the likelihood of success this time. We share the gratitude expressed by all present, for Ross and Phil’s efforts and commitment to outcomes for the community.
In our survey of satisfaction with Council performance (February 2015) we had 140 eligible responses from 122 different IP addresses (locations), most identifying with Hunters Hill Council as the one they they are most connected to, and those survey results are available here. There is widespread dissatisfaction with Hunters Hill Council’s performance.
The importance 1) of proceeding with the heritage listing of 10 Cowell Street, 2) of refusing to sell our publicly owned land to a developer seeking approval for such inappropriate development, and 3) of ensuring quality planning outcomes in the eagerly-awaited redevelopment of the Gladesville Shopping ‘Village’ – cannot be overstated if Hunters Hill Council wishes to regain the support of Gladesville.
General Meeting of Council 25th May 2015
Sorry we couldn’t give you more advance notice of the impending determination of the 10 Cowell St heritage listing. Those of us who made submissions were only advised that it would be considered at tomorrow’s meeting, on Friday (the business day immediately preceding the meeting). Come along and watch how Hunters Hill Council treats heritage items if you’re free!
– team and Gladesville Community Group.