Pollie Crackers

Council’s Heritage Committee met last week but to the surprise of some, the TAFE development application was not on the agenda and the committee was informed that it would not be referred to them despite it being a multi-million dollar development within the Grenfell Urban Conservation Area. The committee was also told that the Heritage Advisor’s report would not be tabled. One wonders why? Could it be embarrassing?

Style of building apposed.

Style of building apposed.

None-the-less it was still raised and questioned by one community member with strong support from another. These members were apparently concerned that if council approved the development as presented, it would set such a precedent that it would be difficult for council to enforce heritage conditions on any other future developments. That seems a very valid point.

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There is an old saying: “you should put your money where your mouth is.” There is no actual money involved but in observance of this maxim the Feather Duster has submitted a formal objection to the TAFE DA as below. It must be stressed this is NOT an objection to the TAFE itself, it is an objection to the style of building proposed in this location, being within the Urban Conservation Area.

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“General Manager, 

Weddin Shire Council,

Dear Sir,

Subject: DA 30/2018 – TAFE NSW Connected Learning Centre

I refer to the public notice for the above development in George St Grenfell. I have inspected the exhibited document, being a Statement of Environmental Effects, and was disappointed to see the proposed new building is of modern design and modern materials.

My layman’s comments on the proposal are as follows:

Roof: - the roof is flat and does not fit with the Urban Conservation Area. A ridged roof would be much more sympathetic and far preferable. Refer to Heritage Advisor.

Roof Cladding: - this should be galvanised iron or a close imitation as per previous council determinations.

Exterior: - this is very modern and not sympathetic with the Urban Conservation Area. Refer to Heritage Advisor.

George St frontage: - the proposed metal cladding, together with the flat roof, will be completely out of place on the frontage of Grenfell’s original main street. Refer to Heritage Advisor.

George St access: - the proposed vehicular access to George St will undesirably increase traffic movements in George St which is promoted by council as a Heritage Walk, with students driving through looking for a vacant parking space. Also, based on the vehicle turning paths shown on the plans, there is sufficient width for the trailer-mounted Mobile Training Units to easily enter and exit via Melyra St. Vehicular access should be restricted but pedestrian access could be retained. The following extracts from council’s DCP 2014 are relevant:

Ch 13.7 (Objectives) – “to ensure that new development is sympathetic to the character of heritage items and Conservation Areas.”

Ch 13.9.2 (Standards) – “A separate and suitably detailed Heritage Impact Statement………..will be required for applications………where there is disagreement or departure from the considerations of Council’s Heritage Advisor.”

The important comments on this proposal would always be those of the Heritage Advisor, assuming that a report has been prepared. I have no doubt that it will address the above issues and more, and there are certain to be clear departures from her considerations. Her advice to council should be a valuable basis for consideration. It is hugely regrettable that pre-sale undertakings from TAFE for the use of this important site were not negotiated, as council has no power now to prevent TAFE from doing whatever it chooses. Never-the-less, I believe council should still use its best endeavours to obtain an outcome which does not conflict with its DCP or the area’s important heritage qualities.

Yours faithfully.”

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The public exhibition of the TAFE DA closes at 4 pm on Monday June 18. Interested residents should inspect the documents and form their own opinion as to its merits. Any written comments, either for or against, must be submitted by closing time.

Feather Duster No.3

T Lobb