HERITAGE controls on the iconic former Fletchers Jones clothing factory will be thrown open for community comment following Warrnambool City Council’s listing of the old worker’s cottages in Lava Street.
A total of 76 properties and landmarks, including Granny’s Grave, the cemetery and Allansford Hotel, will be added to local heritage protection under a draft planning amendment approved this week.
Mayor Jacinta Ermacora has referred to a report earlier this year by the local planning and heritage watchdog group which warned the factory site risked becoming a dilapidated eyesore like the former 1840s cottage at 94 Merri Street.
She said yesterday there was concern about lack of local control over state-listed properties like 94 Merri Street, which progressively fell into disrepair and was demolished last November.
“The council has listed the former workers’ cottages as having local significance and we want to know what the community thinks,” Cr Ermacora said.
“I’ve called for a review of the earlier state listing of the Fletcher Jones site in response to the heritage group’s report which suggested the old factory was at risk of becoming like 94 Merri Street.
“There is a gap in legislation. The report recommended council seek a review of the listing to make the FJ site more financially viable.
“There’s a lot of asbestos and other material in the old buildings. Maybe we need to retain just the best of it.”
Councillors this week unanimously approved recommendations to prepare an amendment to the planning scheme for exhibition and public comment covering 76 sites. A heritage consultant will be engaged to review the draft listings before the amendment is displayed by early next year.
The latest list, which follows protection for specific precincts, means property owners will need clearance from the council for permit applications.
City growth director Bill Millard said the draft list followed a long preparation process which included consulting property owners in June 2010.
The former Jamieson Street house of the late Sir Fletcher Jones and the nearby Collarenebri house were identified later.
Total cost for the project will be about $25,000 including a review of the citations and possible planning panel appeals hearing.
Cr Ermacora said council would try to be “very open and proactive” during the comment period.
“This is a chance for people to have their say and add to our history knowledge,” she said.
Cr Andrew Fawcett said heritage was subjective and not always a clear black-and-white interpretation.
“People are starting to appreciate what heritage is,” he said. “I don’t think this list will be a big deal for anyone.”
Cr Michael Neoh said property owners should not feel it was the end of their world by being on the list. “It’s just a trigger for a planning assessment. It’s a good document to record our history and provide some guidelines.”