15 February 2021

Planner offers clarity on Hurst Street home’s status

| John Thistleton
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1982 photo of Goulburn from Rocky Hill.

Architect David Flannery’s 1982 photo of Goulburn from Rocky Hill. Heritage advocates say rules protecting some of the city’s heritage buildings are unclear. Photo: David Flannery.

Goulburn residents fighting to protect the first home built in Hurst Street, in 1888, from demolition and redevelopment may not have to because it is already protected.

Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s head of planning says the home is within the Goulburn Heritage Conservation Area, and is also asking councillors to consider a separate overlay providing Hurst Street with its own heritage precinct.

Council has been assessing a development application to demolish the historic home, ‘Banksia’, at 22 Hurst Street and replace it with a two-storey house which critics say is over-scaled and not in keeping with surrounding character homes.

One opponent said the proposed new home is bigger than some embassies in Canberra. The assessment is still underway, along with its impact on neighbouring old homes in the conservation area. The issue is due for council deliberation on 2 March.

In the meantime, a neighbour has asked that council heritage-lists 22 Hurst Street. The request is on the agenda for council’s meeting on the night of Tuesday, 16 February, accompanied by council’s director of planning and environment Scott Martin’s report and recommendations.

Mr Martin recommends allowing the assessment and determination of the contentious redevelopment application to be finalised before any further considerations are made about the heritage status of 22 Hurst Street.

He says heritage listing is neither appropriate or necessary because of the Goulburn Heritage Conservation Area rules, which mean any works that could impact on heritage values need development consent regardless of whether the premises is individually listed.

Mr Martin says 22 Hurst Street has been altered several times since its construction in 1880, and therefore may not be considered architecturally significant.

“An alternative option may be the need to consider Hurst Street more broadly as its own heritage precinct,” he says in his report.

Front yard of house in Hurst Street, Goulburn.

‘Banksia’ at 22 Hurst Street, photographed from a neighbour’s home in 2020. Photo: Supplied.

Numerous submissions have been lodged objecting to the redevelopment proposal. Mr Martin says people’s response reinforces an underlying community sentiment to the original premises contributes significantly to the overall heritage context of Hurst Street.

The suggestion to consider Hurst Street as its own precinct has struck a chord among neighbours and members of Goulburn Heritage Group, which has long campaigned for streetscapes and overall precincts to be heritage listed, in addition to individual homes.

But until recently, their lobbying has fallen on deaf ears. The arrival of new residents in Hurst Street has reinvigorated efforts to preserve and protect Goulburn’s heritage. Several new residents have undertaken major repair projects on their newly acquired homes. One has built a new brick fence, which neighbours say complements the house that sits behind it and others around it.

Hurst Street resident Margaret Kearns says the significance of 22 Hurst Street cannot be overlooked just because the building has been altered during the years.

“Most, if not all, of the houses in Hurst Street have been altered over time, including some of those that are already heritage listed,” she says.

Ms Kearns supports Mr Martin’s suggestion of listing the entire street. She cites a heritage study review that council commissioned in 2017 by Sue Rosen Associates, and Barker Ryan Stewart. Their final report’s appendix has a list of potential heritage items for future review, including various dwellings in Hurst Street.

She says a positive outcome of the contentious redevelopment – which proposes a mansion with underground parking, seven bedrooms and six bathrooms – is the frequent meetings of new arrivals. No longer strangers, they have banded together to protect what attracted them to Hurst Street and the heritage city of Goulburn.

Original Article published by John Thistleton on The RiotACT.

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