CHANGES: Some 1500 homes in Grafton are affected by this proposed Heritage Conservation Area.
CHANGES: Some 1500 homes in Grafton are affected by this proposed Heritage Conservation Area.

Cloud hovering over heritage plan

AS a large chunk of Grafton is touted to become a Heritage Conservation Area, with 290 new houses put forward for heritage listing, residents are still to fully realise the implications.

Clarence Valley Council is in the middle of posting letters outlining the proposed area (including the map on right) to affected residents with a summary of what sort of additions may now require approval under the plan.

The proposal comes as a recommendation of an 88-page Community Heritage Study which was released earlier this year.

Residents in the proposed conservation area will be required to seek approval for satellite dishes, front fences, driveways and minor building alterations, but council’s senior strategic planner Deborah Wray said a full-blown DA (development application) would not be required for these.

Instead, she said, council was hoping to introduce an online template to streamline and quicken the process, providing developments met the criteria.

Ms Wray said council had received 40 phone calls and eight written responses to the mail-out in just over a week.

“Most of it is positive, applauding council for protecting a valuable heritage area,” she said. “There have been some objections but most of them are misunderstanding what a heritage conservation area is, believing the perceived myth that nothing can be done to your property once the area was heritage listed.

“Development will certainly be allowed in the area provided it is sympathetic to the older style of the area.”

Ms Wray said things such as roof pitches and chosen materials would need to “pick up on the proportions and style” of the existing homes in the area.

She said the proposal would prevent inappropriate developments such as large blocks of flats going up next to older homes.

“This doesn’t mean you can’t have flats, but they must acknowledge the heritage theme of the area,” Ms Wray said.

Grafton valuer Steve Herbert, from Hoolihan Valuations, said he didn’t expect the proposal to have a major impact on house values.

It’s a concern acknowledged in the project’s Planning Proposal document (attachment C) which states: “The most likely conflict would be removal or demolition of a heritage item for complete redevelopment. This poses a serious conflict with identified heritage values. Owners reserve the right to submit a development application for removal or demolition.”



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