AFTER five years of toing and froing with Council planners, the proponents of the Magnet Mart expansion have withdrawn a development application to demolish historic Sloane St terraces.
The developers were finally given in principle approval to bulldoze the building in early October on condition they delivered a “high quality” new design that met Council’s CBD guidelines and Heritage Office controls within three months.
If not, the DA would be refused.
On January 2, Council received a letter from architect Tim Lee, formally withdrawing the DA.
“On behalf of my client, we wish to advise Council that development application 180/112/DA for the demolition of Number 310 Sloane Street will be withdrawn,” it read.
When the Post contacted Mr Lee he confirmed that the application had not only been withdrawn but that the terraces would be kept.
“The owner has come up with an alternative plan,” he said.
The architect said he was now working on a revised concept which would retain the structure but said it wouldn’t be ready for at least another month.
Mr Lee told the Post the owners were pressing ahead with the original plan, demolishing the early 1900s terraces, right up until before Christmas. They had worked hard to secure in principle support for the demolition before the owners’ “unexpected turnaround.” Mr Lee did not know the reason.
While Paul Donaghue owns the terraces, he partners Woolworths owned Danks and Sons on the Magnet Mart store.
The Post requested comment from Mr Donaghue, via Mr Lee, however he did not return calls by the time of going to press.
The new plan reduces the scale and configuration of the expansion, with a retail area at the rear. Mr Lee said the development would be about half the original size and include fencing and landscaping on the frontage.
“My role now is to get a revised concept together and give it to Paul.
Whether it goes to Council after that is up to him.”
He said the terraces would be kept but could not say whether they’d be restored.
Goulburn Heritage Group has cautiously welcomed the move.
“We’re very concerned for the future of the building,” member John Proctor said.
“Is the owner going to maintain it or redevelop? It’s very dilapidated now and the worst case scenario is that like the (former Hung Win) Chinese Restaurant it will deteriorate further and become a safety hazard.”
Co-member Linda Cooper agreed, saying that like the former St John’s Orphanage in Mundy St, it could be left to crumble.
She appreciated it needed money spent on it but said she’d like to see it restored to semi-detached dwellings and its unique side entrances retained.
On the broader heritage front, Mrs Cooper saw a problem where DAs involving historic buildings were no acted upon within the statutory five years.
Some owners have carried out only minor work after this time to keep the application “alive.”
“Developers may be abiding by the law but it is demolition by neglect and you can’t do anything about it.”
In other news, local businessman Kieran Davies has confirmed that 315 Sloane St will likely face the dozer this year to make way for Goulburn Mazda’s expansion.
In June 2011, he was finally granted approval for the development after a long running battle with the Heritage Group and Council. However, more than 18 months on, the ill-fated cottage is still standing.
Mr Davies told the Post the redevelopment was on track and that he was currently waiting on engineering reports needed to obtain a Construction Certificate from Council planners. If all goes to plan the project will get underway this year.