C. H. Smith: no heritage issue

THE redevelopment of the former C. H. Smith site in Launceston has not been stalled by the buildings' heritage listing, the developer says.

Alderman Ted Sands says the buildings should be de-listed to stop impeding developments at the site, but both the developer and the Launceston City Council say the listing is not the main sticking point, citing securing tenants in a difficult market as a reason for delays.

Launceston City Council development services director Michael Stretton said: ``The developers have always been accepting of the need to preserve the buildings' heritage character and, in actual fact, the heritage facade is a strong element of the development and is a major factor for the proposed anchor tenant.''

Developer Peter Velt, from Geelong family company Brile, said he did not wish to comment on the heritage aspect of the site, but did concede it would be easier if the buildings had already been demolished.

``It's an ugly site, it's been like that for 30 years and we've only had it for a couple,'' Mr Velt said.

``We're working hard on it every day . . . it's a really difficult site, but we will get there.''

Mr Velt said securing tenants had been difficult since the global financial crisis.

``A lot of tenants are not prepared to commit to it just yet, often they want to have two representations in Tasmania, one in Hobart and one in Launceston, so there's a lot of interest in that regard,'' he said.

Alderman Sands will move a motion at Monday's council meeting calling for the council to work with the Tasmanian Heritage Council and Brile ``to find a solution to the stalled development of the lower Charles Street site'', including the de-registering of the buildings.

Tasmanian Heritage Council chairwoman Dianne Snowden said no application had been made to de-list the buildings since she took up the post in 2012.

``The developer has not indicated that heritage issues are stopping the development from proceeding, and we have had open lines of communication with the developer and their consultants,'' she said.

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