10 years after the Paul Davies report recommended heritage listing of 10 Cowell Street, the house has been listed but we are astounded to see that the land around it has been excluded.
The Trust and other community members have urged Council to list 10 Cowell Street, not just as a heritage item, but with its curtilage, as a way of mitigating the impact of the development of the Gladesville Shopping Village site.
The most recent scheme for the GSV site includes 4 massive towers. Tower B would be 64m above Flagstaff Street (see below).
The business of the listing of 10 Cowell Street raises a number of doubts.
Council appears to have prevaricated on the listing and has failed to articulate its reasons for doing so.
The exclusion of the curtilage wasn’t passed as a resolution by Councillors, rather this wording was added later.
It appears that the main driver of Council’s dealings with the developers has been to maximise the sale price of Council owned public land, rather than to preserve Hunters Hill’s heritage and ensure the best possible development of the shopping area for the community.
The financial imperative to maximise the sale price of the property has never, as far as we can see, been publicly argued by Council. Instead, Council appears to have been at pains to gloss over the issue and to keep its dealings with the developers secret (presumably with the excuse that such dealings are commercial in confidence).
The wording of the Schedule 5 listing now appears to leave the cottage at 10 Cowell St open to being removed and erected somewhere else as some sort of salve to those who wish to retain it. We have always argued for the retention of the cottage in situ surrounded by its curtilage.
This is indeed an extremely dark stain on HHC’s blotter.
It is very important to understand the difference in the resolution passed on the night, and the wording submitted in the LEP. Some may argue that the resolution of Council in a vote of 6-1 (Clr Astridge was the only dissenting vote), is in fact exactly the same in meaning as the wording on the LEP. However this is not the case, the High Court held that “Any building, whether it is a habitation or has some other use, may stand within a larger area of land which subserves the purposes of the building. The land surrounds the building because it actually or supposedly contributes to the enjoyment of the building or the fulfillment of its purposes”. In layman’s terms, in common law to stipulate a building includes it’s curtilage.