A last-minute appeal against the proposed CH Smith redevelopment has been lodged by the Heritage Protection Society (Tasmania).
The society submitted the appeal on February 14 over the Tasmanian Heritage Council's decision to approve the demolition of the internal structure at 22 Charles Street. Concerns raised by PW Reynolds, on the final day of the appeal period, related to the timber floors, beam and posts inside the 1860s grain store.
“The internal structures are an integral part of the cultural heritage significance of the place and are permitted to be demolished contrary to good conservation practice,” PW Reynolds said.
“Prudent and feasible alternatives exist to provide sufficient floor space for offices on the amalgamated development site.”
Developer Errol Stewart said the appeal, set to go before the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal, would not stop the development.
“It is disappointing [the society] sees fit to challenge the Heritage Council decision … [but] we will abide by the umpire decision and it will go forward,” he said.
Property Council executive director Brian Wightman urged the public to voice their concerns regarding the ability of “a small heritage group to stifle much-needed development and investment in Launceston.”
“The ridiculous nature of this appeal, ostensibly based upon a floor level, highlights the challenges and strategically planned inertia, that if left unchallenged will paralyse our city,” he said.
“It beggars belief that an appeal would be launched against the sympathetic development.”
Mr Wightman said the appeal was a perfect example showing why the Tasmanian government needed to recommit to tightening third party appeal legislation.
“The appeal process may take more than three months to resolve and cost the investors tens of thousands of dollars,” he said.
Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein said while people had a right to appeal, the potential delay was disappointing.
“People in Launceston overwhelmingly want to get this done … redeveloping the CH Smith site will create jobs and encourage growth in the north, which is why the government backed the project with a $9 million loan from the Northern Economic Stimulus fund,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by City of Launceston general manager Robert Dobrzynski who said the council would participate in the appeal with an intent to see the matter resolved positively, as quickly as possible.
"The Heritage Protection Society (Tasmania) has exercised its right under law to make an appeal, which will now be tested,” he said.
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