– thought it was heritage listed (10 Cowell St)?

Hi Everyone,

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!

SHHMC Notes of meeting with Council Final 3 March 2015 report by council Questions about 10 Cowell Street process

Kind regards,
– team and Gladesville Community Group.

Update + amalgamation meeting Wed 6 May at 7pm

Hi Everyone,

It’s been a while since we’ve been in touch, so there’s a lot to catch up on.
Hunters Hill Trust response to the revised concept for Gladesville Shopping ‘Village’
The developer has appointed a new team and they came up with a radically different design, including a 25 storey tower. The revised development would provide 300 – 350 flats, compared to 180 in the original.
We’re grateful, as always, for the expert assessment and critique from the Hunters Hill Trust, copy attached.
Fit for the Future, our Survey, and the Meeting between the Save Hunters Hill Municipality Coalition (SHHMC) and representatives of Council
It was clear from the results of our survey (available here) of approximately 140 respondents, that many people who live or work in Gladesville feel that Hunters Hill Council has let us down with the planning instruments, the option contracts for the sale of land, the failure to list the timber cottage at 10 Cowell St for heritage protection, and the lack of visibility to the public while these events were unfolding.
We believe that there is a widespread feeling that Hunters Hill Council does not deserve loyalty from Gladesville, given that the Council would enter into contracts which commit us to the sale of public land to a developer who could bypass local planning controls and seek state government approval for the 25 storey tower. This appears to be the rescue plan to keep the municipality viable, and those who live, work, are educated in, or come to Gladesville for any other reason – are to pay the price – in the shadow of such inappropriate development.
Ross Williams and Phil Jenkyn are both former councillors (Ross a former Mayor, Phil a retired barrister) and both remain active in community affairs. We are grateful for their attention to the plight of Gladesville.
Ross and Phil met with representatives of Council in support of Gladesville’s interests, in support of what we believe to be good government at the Council level. It was thanks to Ross and Phil’s meeting that Council finally released redacted versions of the Option agreements which will allow the sale of the publicly owned land (including 10 Cowell Street) when the developer decides to take it (for the price we have not been told).
The notes of the meeting between SHHMC and HHC are attached. The redacted versions of the option contracts and the valuation commissioned by Council can be found at this link on Council’s website. More on these, below.
We were delighted that Ross and Phil so passionately share our view that Gladesville needs responsible development, and that good governance of Hunters Hill Municipality is critical to the defence of it’s continued independence. Ross, Phil, and Tony Coote of the Hunters Hill Trust joined Gladesville Community Group (Inc) Committee members Justin Parry-Okeden and Russell Young at the Council Meeting on 9th March to present on a number of motions on the agenda. Councillor Bird’s motions were aimed at improving public confidence in Council’s handling of a number of concerning issues (Motions and Resolutions 3.1 to 3.3, attached), and we also made presentations about a motion before Council regarding the setback controls for the GSV site (Motion and Resolution 4.3, attached). We were pleased to receive the support of Councillors for 3 of the 4 motions resolved in that meeting.
Questions arising from the documents which were released
Thanks largely to Justin Parry-Okeden’s efforts poring over the details of the valuation and the option contracts, we have a few questions for which we are seeking a response from the Mayor and General Manager (who negotiated the Option instruments with the developer, under delegated authority). These concise observations and questions are attached and are WELL WORTH READING.
We will forward any response received from Council, to this mailing list.
Council amalgamation event – consultation?
The Council are holding an event on Wednesday 6th May, at the Henley Community Centre on Crown St, Henley, commencing at 7pm. The event is described at this link on council’s website as being of “consultation”, but we note from the “Keep Councils Local” banner (attached) on the HHC website that the Council seems to have already determined its position. In any case, we’ll be there. Come on down to the Henley Community Centre on Wednesday night if you can make it. Be consulted, or at least be told what you want, directly.
Where to from here
With what we’ve come to learn about Hunters Hill Council’s actions, in the last 5-10 years, regarding;
1) the failure to list the timber cottage at 10 Cowell St for heritage protection despite the unchallenged expert recommendation to do so,
2) the negotiation of option instruments (without tender or public visibility of the process) for the sale of public land, and
3) the evolution of planning controls for the GSV site
– it is hardly surprising that many of us are sceptical about the value of retaining Hunters Hill Council as an independent municipality.
As shown by our survey results, many of us in Gladesville would like to see our suburb managed under one Council, and are open to exploring models of local council government which would deliver economies of scale and would not be expected to deliver worse planning outcomes that we have at present – whereby Hunters Hill Council is obliged to sell public land to a developer at their will – to facilitate a development that seeks to remove the timber cottage at 10 Cowell Street and build a 25 storey tower on the site.
Through the support we’ve received from Ross Williams, Phil Jenkyn, Tony Coote (and the Committee and members of The Hunters Hill Trust), and other community groups like the Ryde Hunters Hill Flora and Fauna Preservation Society as well as smaller groups of community-minded people in local streets, we see some merit in protecting Hunters Hill as an independent municipality DESPITE, not because of, what the Council has done in recent years.
Whilst we acknowledge the support of a number of current Councillors sympathetic to Gladesville’s position, they have been a MINORITY voice too often, and we believe this Council has struggled to properly represent and defend the interests of its ratepayers in Gladesville, so far as planning and development is concerned. We believe that Hunters Hill Council has identified the sale of public land at the GSV site (and related development) as the financial rescue plan to ensure medium-term financial sustainability, and has been too supportive of the development to adequately balance the financial gain against community amenity. In short, we believe Gladesville is being sacrificed for the benefit of the rest of the municipality. However, because of density, the Gladesville / Boronia Park end of the municipality could easily become the vocal, disaffected majority.
For many decades Hunters Hill Municipality has benefitted from having passionate, community-oriented activists fight for heritage, conservation, bushland management, and other community-oriented causes. The Council can either be part of the problem or part of the solution.
As the ‘Fit for the Future’ debate ramps up, and when it’s time to make submissions directly to the State Government, we will be promoting public participation and helping people to be heard. Please follow the issues. Please keep an eye on Hunters Hill Council and make your mind up about whether this municipality should remain independent, about whether Gladesville should fight to be under one Local Council, and about the local government model that you think will best serve the interests of Gladesville.
We are looking to Hunters Hill Council to show its value to the Community in Gladesville by;
1) terminating the option agreements (per meeting notes with SHHMC),
2) protecting the timber cottage at 10 Cowell St in-situ with heritage listing and refusal to sell, and
3) refusing to sell Council-owned land into any development that will bypass local planning rules (using state government ‘gateway’ approvals).
Gladesville doesn’t need a 25 storey tower, or 350 flats on the Gladesville Shopping ‘Village’ site, and if that’s what Hunters Hill Council will allow for Gladesville then we’ll be asking whether we need Hunters Hill Council, too.
We thank the generous donors who have already contributed to the Group, and will always appreciate donations of any size to;
Bank:                    Commonwealth Bank
Account Name      Gladesville Community Group Incorporated
BSB                      062 166
Account number   1042 2131
From the team at Gladesville Community Group (inc).