7 January 2022

Heritage verandah to be removed from iconic Commercial Hotel in Yass

| Max O'Driscoll
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Commercial Hotel in Yass

The heritage verandah of the Commercial Hotel in Yass will need to be removed due to safety concerns. Photo: Supplied.

The Commercial Hotel has a storied history in Yass which spans more than 170 years. However, it has been left to go derelict since its last beers were poured in 2005, and now new owner Andrew Turnbull will be required to remove the venue’s iconic front verandah.

Yass Valley Council has announced it will be forcing the new owners of the Commercial Hotel to remove the iconic front verandah, suggesting it has become a safety hazard for the general public.

Council issued a development control order for the removal of the verandah after developers Mr Turnbull and Anthony Barrie requested it so they can begin work on a new verandah that meets current safety standards.

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However, the developers emphasise that they remain committed to preserving the hotel’s heritage character.

“The verandah will be replaced and we will take every step to ensure the building’s heritage character is preserved as we prepare to reopen the hotel as a family friendly pub,” said Mr Barrie.

“We will also retain and source older materials that will enable us to achieve this.”

As part of the development control order, the verandah will need to be removed by 28 February, 2022, and the building’s owners will be responsible for repairing any other damage to the hotel’s facade.

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The footpath below the verandah will also require fencing while works are being completed.

Yass Valley Council has assured the community that the developer has been made aware that all components of the verandah that are considered suitable for reuse must be retained and stored in a secure place.

“We know this building holds an important place in the town’s history and we look forward to assisting the developer with its plans to reopen the hotel,” said Yass Valley Council general manager Chris Berry.

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YES !!!!!. I was in Yass yesterday and was horrified to see the verandah had been removed. It MUST be replaced in the EXACT style that it was originally. This style is essentially consistent with the wonderful character of Yass and many other country towns. I love these characterful towns which give us a sense of our history. Our history in not so extensive that any part of it can be dismissed or overlooked.

Thanks to the Yass council for the maintenance of standards in this respect.

My regards.
Ted Fitcher.

Too many councils issue these type of orders to owners/developers which only contributes to our loss of heritage, without guarantee they will do as ordered. Lets hope these new owners do keep in mind what council has ordered; ‘the developer has been made aware that all components of the verandah that are considered suitable for reuse must be retained and stored in a secure place. Our most common heritage policy in Australia is to abandon something, let it fall into disrepair, say its too costly to repair, demolish it and then build something without character or appeal. I would suggest however that something is agreed to ‘in writing’ as the materials are removed as the easier option will always be buying everything new, and saying ‘sorry about that, nothing could be reused.” On a positive note, if they do as they say, what a great project.

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