Demolition of a Derelict Dwelling

Warrnambool    In 2000 a severely dilapidated house was purchased, with a view to developing 3 town houses. The owner applied to demolish the building.  The dwelling was not identified in the 1983 Council Heritage Study as being of any significance.   The council in response to local politicking sought an ‘Interim Heritage Order’ from Heritage Victoria to place the dwelling on the Victorian Heritage Register. This action forestalled the applicants development options.

Our firm provided planning representation, submissions and consultation and made a detailed application to Heritage Victoria to review the matter. We  briefed and engaged an expert heritage witness for  the Heritage Vic hearing. The heritage expert provided comprehensive evidence of the condition, age, construction, extensive changes to the building and the very poor and unsafe structure. It was recommended the small front section of the property be retained,   the rest demolished and  a recessive two storey section built at the rear of the single storey section.

Despite the foregoing; an order was made for protection and retention. This decision was based on a  contrary limited report by  an academic heritage historian  including an admission that much of what he presented on behalf of the local council was provided by local opinion and other undefined sources. The academic also made substantial errors of fact and conceded uncertainty of the age of the structure.

 From 2002 to 2010 multiple design suggestions  (by others) were considered with an outlook to retaining part of  the front of dwelling, however the house progressively fell into disrepair  including  significant  fire damage to roof   2004. 

By 2010 the building was a burnt out and vandalised  derelict shell. Both the council and Heritage Vic  reconsidered the matter and  what remained of the old house was demolished in August 2011, under a Permit issued by Heritage Victoria.

 A new double storey dwelling was constructed. (Two other dwellings had already been built to the rear of the property in the intervening years).

Contact    Rod Cullen Urban Planning   0409 962 450