Council split on Piper’s addition

A MODERN home to be built in a heritage conservation area in Piper Street would add a new chapter to more than 200 years of building design in Bathurst, Councillor Monica Morse has told her colleagues.

Cr Morse was speaking in support of the Tony McBurney-designed property at Bathurst Regional Council on Wednesday night.

She said she had lived in Bathurst for more than 30 years and had shown a great commitment to heritage through both the properties she bought and her work with heritage groups, but that heritage was not just about “old things”.

“I wouldn’t particularly want an ugly building next to my house but I don’t think this is an ugly building,” she said.

“I understand the neighbours’ preference would have been to not have this house or any house built there, but they could’ve had a two-storey fake heritage design instead which would have been much worse.

“If we allow fake heritage homes to be built across the city we will end up looking like a film set.”

Cr Morse said Bathurst was rightly proud of its architecture from the past but said it was time to start talking about the architecture of the present.

“The development of this design has been a great example of consultation with neighbours and council’s planners and heritage advisers,” she said.

“We should embrace this and in the future this home could become a showcase of what can be achieved in a heritage area.

“It might one day be known as the ‘McBurney house’.”

But Cr Bobby Bourke asked what was the point of a heritage conservation area if council was willing to allow any home designs to be built there.

He said a carport planned to be built in front of the house did not comply with council’s own planning rules and he feared allowing the home could set a precedent in other heritage areas.

Cr Ian North said he appreciated a young couple had bought the difficult block with a vision of building on it but he struggled to come to terms with allowing a non-compliant carport as part of the plans.

In the end, the development application was approved by a single vote.

Mayor Graeme Hanger voted with deputy Michael Coote and councillors Morse and Warren Aubin to approve the DA while councillors Bourke, Greg Westman and North voted against.