Stirling’s war on ‘demolition by neglect’ of heritage properties Perth Now – WA’s biggest council is proposing tough new laws that would allow its officers to enter neglected heritage properties, order repairs and force the owners to pay.
The City of Stirling believes it will stop the practice of “demolition by neglect”. Officers would only enter buildings whose owners ignored notices giving them 60 days to carry out repairs.
City of Stirling’s manager of approvals Andre Gillot said demolition by neglect was becoming more prevalent and the council had identified shortcomings in laws to control it. “The city will follow due legal process on a case-by-case basis to gain access to the buildings after the 60-day period,” he said.
The council’s area includes much of Mt Lawley, Inglewood and Menora. The proposed amendment is open for comment until March 4.
Mt Lawley Society president Bruce Wooldridge said it was groundbreaking and the council should be applauded. “Heritage protection areas of Mt Lawley, Menora and Inglewood are arguably the best examples in Australia of intact residential areas from the first decades of the 20th Century,” he said. “A significant number of properties have been lost to demolition by neglect in recent years, and (this amendment) will help to ensure that the remaining heritage buildings within the HPA are preserved for future generations.”
Mr Wooldridge said demolition by neglect was slow and neighbours had to endure health and safety problems. The WA Greens have supported the plan, calling it “progressive and innovative”.
They have announced an election policy to amend the State Heritage Act to prohibit demolition by neglect and require all properties on the State Heritage Register to have a conservation management plan. Under the policy, demolition by neglect would carry a fine of $1 million and a daily penalty of $50,000.