Pittwater Council at it’s meeting on Monday 21st July2014 voted to place on exhibition the Pittwater Community Based Heritage Study Review. The report maybe accessed by clicking on the following link (Access Link).
A list of the potential items for listing at Newport are as follows;
Fink House, 153 Queens Parade, Newport (this house is owned by one of our members and its listing is strongly questioned and objected to. Please refer below and have your say).
Currie House, 3 The Avenue, Newport
Newport Arms Hotel, 1 Kalinya Street, Newport
St Michaels Anglican Church, Foamcrest Avenue, Newport
Stone Wall Bungan Head Road (adjacent to Betty Morrison Reserve) Newport
Trafalgar Park and War Memoria,l 16 Queens Parade, Newport
Newport Public School – School Bell & Flag, 25 Queens Parade, Newport
Newport Wharf, 1A Queens Parade, Newport
Newport Bowling Club, Palm Road, Newport
Objection re Listing of Fink House
You asked if I would be willing to discuss the heritage listing issue with NRA. I think I’d like to do so, not just because of my own situation, where despite my objections I think they have probably made up their minds to heritage list mine. But for anyone else in Newport affected.
I think there are questions to be raised about heritage listing , especially about the need for Pittwater Council funding to assist those maintaining a heritage place, which can become very expensive with an older house. It’s all very well for Council to decide which places to list, but what further responsibilities do they have for maintaining them and helping people who try to keep the old places habitable, and then have to cope financially with the rising expenses as they age . Electrical wiring has to be replaced, timber posts rot, walls and ceilings suffer damp, doors split, foundations get lateral or rising damp, termites infest and a host of other problems affect them.
The young heritage consultants don’t seem worried about all that, they just think the place is iconic because someone famous designed it, or, someone who later became very famous, but had just begun their career and had a lot to learn from designing their first houses.
Some Newport houses were built shortly after the war ended ( between 1946 to 1950, ) when there were shortages of materials and architects had very little choice of builders’ materials, roofing contractors or experienced builders, so what they designed often had to compromise not from choice, but because there were no alternatives.
If Council wants to keep old houses preserved for posterity in heritage, they need to accept upgrading them with modern materials now available. If for instance a house was largely made from Asbestos sheets would they want that perpetuated? Surely they would remove them and replace with something less harmful, modern and more effective.
Then there is the value of the block of land on which a house was built. It was probably fairly cheap in 1947 , but now the rates assess its value around a $million for a starter. The value of an old house on that land has not risen like the land, so people prefer buying non- heritage houses, because they can demolish them easily. With the heritage house they face restrictions from Council, ”State Listing normally prevents demolition” (Heritage listing p 8) and theirs value is diminished. I have seen houses near mine, sold and quickly demolished when they were still in very good condition, because someone wanted to build a ‘Mc Mansion’ on the land.
But that would not be permitted if it was an old heritage house on the block. How can Council compensate people for the diminished value of their land after heritage listing? They claim that it does not affect property values and that it’s a myth but they are more cautious in their wording ‘listing has no effect on property value in most cases and sometimes improves resale value” (op.cit.p 7.) Can one really believe this? Is it true in Pittwater? I hope there will be some discussion of these issues!, if you want to use this on the NRA website to start some discussion, I give you permission to do so.
Dr Ruth Fink Latukefu