CHARLES Micallef couldn’t believe it when he was advised his Penshurst house was among 57 new individual items proposed for Hurstville Council’s updated heritage list.
The Cambridge Street house had been singled out “due to its importance to the local area”.
But Mr Micallef, a draughtsman who likes to restore antiques, built the house in 1993.
“I made it up as I went along,” he said. “I made a good copy but I did not think it would get me into trouble.
“The report describing my property begins with . . . ‘Year started 1886 and completed in 1920’.
“My home was described in a romantic mix of terms other than the fact it was built in 1993 from scratch.”
Unable to convince the council’s heritage people of the gaff, Mr Micallef hired a heritage expert.
“My property would have gone through as a heritage item without the professional report I was forced to commission,” he said.
In the end, Hurstville Council did a backflip at its meeting last Wednesday night and decided not to heritage-list any streets in north Beverly Hills or Kemps Estate in Mortdale.
“We’ve listened to you and recognised your concerns and no property will be affected,” the mayor and several councillors said.
A good copy: Charles Micallef had to prove to Hurstville Council his house, built in 1993, should not be heritage-listed. Picture: Jane Dyson
The council had announced late last year that it was required by the state government to review its heritage items.
Heritage consultants then went on to nominate parts of north Beverly Hills and Kemps Estate as possible heritage conservation areas because of their distinct pre- or post-war building styles.
The residents were not happy and packed into the council’s community information sessions in December determined to keep their homes heritage-free.
The council received 137 individual submissions for Beverly Hills, of which nine were in support. There were also a number of petitions.
Kemps Estate attracted 27 individual submissions, with one in support.
Major concerns included: a reduction in property values; additional restrictions, expense and inequity when it came to maintenance and renovation; lack of proper consultation and information dissemination, and questionable classification criteria, which labelled houses as 1930s bungalows when they were in fact built in the 1950s or later.
So on Wednesday night, armed with prepared speeches and righteous anger, Beverly Hills and Mortdale ratepayers crowded into the council’s chambers prepared to fight for their right to do as they pleased to their properties. It was a full house.
But Hurstville Council took the wind out of their sails pretty quickly with the news there were not going to be any heritage-listed streets.
Councillor Colin Drane, who grew up in the area, reminded everyone they weren’t talking about The Rocks but about suburban Beverly Hills.
The council agreed unanimously not to heritage list parts of Beverly Hills or Kemps Estate.
Do you agree with the council decision?
The prepared speeches were put away and the relieved residents went home.
Mr Micallef, who wants the council to reimburse him the $780 he spent on the consultant, says the whole process has been farcical.
‘‘If anything can be listed as heritage then the real genuine heritage items no longer have any relevance,’’ he said.
‘‘If they got it so wrong, they should put their money where their mouth is.’’
A Hurstville Council spokeswoman said the exhibition process allowed residents to consult directly with both the heritage consultant and staff, and make submissions directly or indirectly.
She said the council did not recommend any approach and any decision by residents to engage external advice was their choice alone.
In Mr Micallef’s case, any cost arising from such a decision is the responsibility of Mr Micallef and not the council, she said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.