Ultra-modern home approved for Bathurst heritage area

AN ultra-modern brick, timber and iron house is to be built on a nine-metre wide vacant block between two homes dating back to the 1800s in Piper Street.

NO THANKS: Neighbours Suzanne Ryan and Margaret Ling have objected to plans for an ultra-modern home to be built between their two 1800s houses. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK

NO THANKS: Neighbours Suzanne Ryan and Margaret Ling have objected to plans for an ultra-modern home to be built between their two 1800s houses. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK

Bathurst Regional Council approved plans for the Tony McBurney-designed home during a sometimes heated meeting on Wednesday night.

The two neighbours either side of the narrow block, Suzanne Ryan and Margaret Ling, both spoke passionately against the new home being approved.

They said the proposed home was out of character with the heritage area and raised concerns including overshadowing, loss of privacy and views, the impact of excavation on their properties and a carport planned to be built in front of the home.

But applicant Cindy Fox, who will live in the home with her husband David and young children, told council they had been keen to work with their neighbours to address their concerns.

The carport had been proposed for the front of the home because a previous design that would have seen a garage built under the home had been shelved because neighbours objected to a two-storey building.

“My husband and I have lived in Bathurst basically our whole lives and we are interested in being part of this community, not imposing on our new neighbours,” Ms Fox said.

“We approached Tony McBurney and asked him to design something that was beautiful, unique and ecologically sensitive for not only ourselves but hopefully also our neighbours to enjoy.”

Ms Fox said they always knew there would be challenges in building on a block that was only nine metres wide and 80 metres deep but throughout the design process they were conscious of limiting the impact on neighbours.

Ms Ryan, whose 1897 heritage-listed home Hillcrest stands beside the block, said the proposed design should not be allowed in a heritage conservation area.

She said the maximum roof height of 6.2 metres was too high, she would suffer a loss of views if the house was built and the design would run almost fence-to-fence, with just 900mm between the walls and fences at each side.

Ms Ryan said she had petitioned surrounding residents and there was unanimous opposition to the proposal.

She said plans to build the carport in front of the home did not comply with council’s own planning rules, though acting environmental, planning and building services director Janet Bingham later said council had the power to vary that requirement on a case-by-case basis.

Ms Ling, who lives in an 1875 brick cottage on the other side of the vacant block, said the modern design would be “visually jarring” in that section of Piper Street.

“There’s a place for modern architecture in Bathurst but not when it degrades the surrounding area,” she said.

She labelled the proposed home a “monumental, monolithic presence”.

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