Stop Westmead Heritage Area
Stop Westmead Heritage Area
Petition against Westmead Estate Conservation Area
What is it?
Cumberland Council is considering a large heritage conservation area that will cover 8 streets in Westmead:
Council advised that the basis of the heritage conservation area is to protect original housing commission homes that were built in the post-war era in the 1940’s. The subject houses are small red brick cottages. However Council is considering making the entire area heritage which means all the properties on these streets are potentially affected (either directly or indirectly).
What will it mean?
If it goes ahead, the conservation area is likely to result in:
- reduced property prices
- loss of freedom to develop or make changes to properties
- limit development in the area (such as limiting the replacing of old properties with new houses)
- reduced maintenance on properties due to added restrictions on renovations and maintenance.
For Westmead as a whole, it may mean a pocket of Westmead is underdeveloped. There could also be reduced housing available as existing properties are not able to be re-developed in line with the rest of Westmead. This is a particular concern as there is significant current and future need for more housing in Westmead.
What do we want?
We would like the Council to vote against the heritage proposal.
We also seek the support of the State Government in rejecting the proposal.
How can you help us?
By signing the petition you can add to our voice and help us lobby Council and State Government against this unfair and ill-conceived proposal.
If you would like more information, please refer to the Council website.
Want more information? Read on...
Dear Cumberland Councillors and the Honorable Julie Finn (MP),
This is a petition by the owners, residents and the other interested groups affected by the proposed/potential new heritage list put together by the Cumberland Council namely - HS146 Westmead Estate Conservation Area (Conservation Area).
We are very concerned about this proposal and would like to strongly voice our objections to the Conservation Area on the following grounds:
1. The significance of subject properties is questionable. They are very basic and have no architectural merit justifying heritage conservation.
2. With all the current and proposed NSW State Government development in the Westmead area (Westmead Place Strategy), it is contradictory to cast this area into stagnation.
3. With potential rezoning being considered, classifying homes will stifle the process and reduce the value of the classified properties and any adjacent properties.
4. Additional housing in Westmead is regarded as a priority. Again, this would be restricted if areas were to be declared as heritage.
5. Residents are broadly against the proposed heritage classification. With the proposed changes our rights as property owners are being limited and our hands are tied. We settled in this area to suit our work, life-style and to retire in an area which is in close proximity to everything.
1. Significance of subject properties is questionable, they are very basic, and have no architectural merit hence unsuitable for heritage classification.
The original housing commission houses were built as 2-bedroom residences, however, over the years the majority of houses have undergone significant changes in its original character and street appeal by additions, remodelling/reconfiguration and extensive changes over the years. Many of these original houses now have the addition of granny flats and installation of entry ramps. Features such as modern stencilled driveways and modern carports have been added to many of the houses. This means they are not suitable for heritage classification.
The majority of original post war era houses have not been well maintained and in a state of disrepair, look ugly and need extensive repairs. The original houses lack street appeal especially the houses owned by Land & Housing Corporation. We question the significance of preserving these houses when, for instance, they lack adequate windows and doors for ventilation to suit current climatic (weather) conditions. In addition, the original houses contain a single toilet where the norm in 2021 is two to three toilets. Some of these houses are more suited to knock-down-rebuild now or in the future. The need for upkeep of these buildings would outweigh any known benefits from their conservation.
Many Housing Commission tenants have commented that their homes have not been well maintained by Housing Commission and as a result has been susceptible to frequent break in and loss of tangible property. It would be reasonable to conclude that many Housing Commission houses would be in a similar poor state of repair and not well-appointed.
We challenge the report’s conclusion that the properties are in good condition. The report does not state the houses have been inspected internally. We are aware there are some termite infested properties and this damage cannot be seen from the street or via aerial/satellite images. Hence without inspecting the properties internally, it is impossible to accept the report’s conclusion that the houses are in good condition.
The look and feel of the post war era housing does not really have any strong weightage to convert this area as conservation as there are similar post-war type and similar looking houses existing in many sections of Merrylands, Wentworthville and other areas in Westmead. Does it mean sooner or later the plans would be to render these areas conservation? In particular, Toohey Palm Estate, in Moore Street, Westmead, is already a heritage/conservation area which should serve the purpose for its listing and we do not see any need to make this particular section of Westmead a conservation area which is in fact within walking distance to Moore Avenue.
2. With all the new NSW developments in the Westmead area (Westmead Place Strategy), it is contradictory to cast this area into stagnation.
The proposed changes are seen as an outright contradiction to the State Governments current and future Planning for Westmead with the planned infrastructure i.e. construction of The Lightrail and The Metro due to commence in 2023. The proposed changes by the Cumberland Council are not seen in line with the current economic environment and is deemed a hindrance to the future growth and development of Westmead
Further, we are aware that there is a current proposal for a new housing commission development on Nolan Crescent (on Nolan Crescent & Fenwick Place) to house 14 new families/individuals. The Land & Housing Corporation have advised this proposal is currently under assessment and intended to provide much needed new, fit for purpose dwellings for seniors and disabled people. On the other hand, this heritage area proposal is for the same area to be converted into a conservation area! Hence the Council and State Governments Planning process is contradictory of dual development agenda. We are unaware as to whether the proposed heritage area will prevent the Land and Housing Corporation from proceeding with the proposed redevelopment. If it does then a heritage proposal would likely limit socially affordable housing in this area. We are concerned it would limit the Land & Housing’s ability to renovate the existing properties which are now around 80 years old and likely to need significant renovations moving into the future. This social need is current and important to existing and future affordable housing.
The significant redevelopment Westmead is experiencing currently in and around the Hospital area will lead to the largest Health Precinct in the State and possibly in the Country. This redevelopment is in line with the future demands of the ageing population of NSW. It will significantly increase demand for housing by workers in this Health precinct to live and work locally. This will also benefitCouncil as, for example, potential high-rise accommodation provides additional accommodation near the health precinct as well as benefiting the Council with revenue from rates.
In addition, the NSW State Government in order to ensure a minimal pressure on the infrastructure of Westmead are very likely in future to have to rezone south Westmead from current R2 to R4 zoning. This Heritage listing will only place an unjustified impediment to the future rezoning.
3. The Cumberland Council proposal will place an unwanted and uncalled burden on to the property owners.
Heritage classification will negatively impede and place unnecessary constraints to the upkeep of these properties in the street and the other streets impacted by this proposal.
To complete a simple renovation to a Heritage listed property, will require the owners to overcome numerous red tape checks and balances with relevant government bodies at additional costs at the owners expense which is neither necessary nor desirable.
It is not fair that effected owners are burdened by reduced property prices and the heritage scheme does not compensate owners for this. We continue to pay Council rates that have increased significantly over the years. However when it comes down to it, Council may still make a decision that adversely effects us.
Our future Market Value will not only stagnate (compared to a non-Heritage listed dwelling) but in reality, it will diminish in value.
The pool of buyers will significantly diminish and with that our retirement pool of funds (to sell and live a comfortable life in our retirement).
If the state Government feels to have a conservation area then possibly they can select a very small section of properties they own making it is easy for them to maintain these properties as they they have the funds and they also control the agencies
Residents of Westmead