Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Decision Kept from Objectors; Demolition Approved Months Ago Leaves Heritage Advocates Livid

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Decision Kept from Objectors; Demolition Approved Months Ago Leaves Heritage Advocates Livid

Article excerpt

Jeremy Sollars

Editor

HERITAGE advocates have slammed the state government for failing to make public a decision late last year to approve the demolition of part of the controversial Plumbs Chambers site on Fitzroy St, Warwick.

The Daily News can reveal the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) approved an application by Rose City Shoppingworld owner the McConaghy Group to demolish the older of the two Plumbs buildings Co number 82 Co just before Christmas 2012.

But it failed to notify objectors to the demolition, citing a lack of legal obligation, and also the Southern Downs Regional Council which is adamant it received no written advice of the approval, issued on December 21 last year.

The state heritage-listed Plumbs Chambers buildings Co including the brick and timber structure at 82 Fitzroy St and its later sandstone neighbour 84, next to the police station Co are on the site of a planned expansion of Rose City Shoppingworld.

The McConaghy Group has previously committed to restoring the main section of 84, but 82 Co believed to be the oldest shop in Queensland Co is in the way of an enlarged loading bay for an expanded centre.

Following a court challenge over an approval to demolish a small rear section of 84, which it lost, the McConaghy Group applied in July last year to the state government for approval to proceed with restoring 84 and knocking down 82.

One objector to the demolition of 82 was Canning Downs stud owner John Barnes who, as well as spearheading the court case, has previously offered to purchase 82 Fitzroy for $500,000 and restore it himself.

Mr Barnes said he was C[pounds sterling]aghastC[yen] to learn the decision had been made months ago yet interested parties were not advised by EHP.

C[pounds sterling]Surely there is an obligation on the part of the department to notify those who made submissions (on the demolition application) and the council,C[yen] he said.

C[pounds sterling]The community is entitled to know what has been decided and if Warwick is best served by these buildings being part of the historic streetscape of Fitzroy St, with the police station and courthouse, or a truck turnout bay. …

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