New heritage requirements for Western District homes

OWNERS of some of the Western District’s oldest homes will be notified this week of a planned heritage overlay on their properties.

Seventy-six places, including homesteads, commercial buildings, churches, halls, schools, hospitals and bridges — plus 10 precincts — have been identified in the Corangamite Heritage Overlay.

The precincts feature town centres throughout the shire, including Cobden, Derrinallum, Lismore, Noorat, Pomborneit, Skipton and Terang.

Corangamite Shire Council planning officer Maya Dougherty said developing the heritage overlay had been a five-year process.

She said initially 596 properties were identified for investigation through consultation with the community and historical societies.

Ms Dougherty said land owners directly affected would receive a letter this week.

She encouraged members of the community to have their say on the document before it goes back to council.

Bookaar farmer Nicholas Cole owns West Cloven Hills, one of the oldest bluestone homes in Western Victoria, and in September told the council heritage overlays cost a lot of money and with agriculture not being flush with funds it was another impediment to running a business.

“I have probably the oldest building in the shire, my great-great-great-grandfather’s original house,” he said.

Mr Cole said some buildings, identified in the heritage overlay, had been designed more than 100 years ago for when there were staff on the property such as cooks and maids.

“They were built when there was a staff of 30 on our farm,” he said. “There is now me, so I can’t maintain a lot of these buildings. What do I do with them? I’m not going to get a permit to fix them up. I’ll probably just let them fall down if we can’t come to some arrangement.”

Corangamite Shire Council’s amendment C36 will go on exhibition on Thursday.

If council decide to proceed with the amendment it will go to an independent panel. The closing date for submissions is February 28, 2014.

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