The state's planning tribunal has thwarted a developer proposing to subdivide a George Street property where a heritage-listed "Inter-war Old English-style" home is situated.
The City of Launceston council rejected Ngarta Pty Ltd's application to subdivide 189 George Street into three separate lots on the advice of the Tasmanian Heritage Council, contending that it would have unreasonably impacted on the property's historic cultural heritage.
This prompted Ngarta to appeal the decision to the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal.
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Described in a heritage register datasheet as "a two-storey brick Federation Arts and Crafts building", the 189 George Street home, designed by architect Frank Heyward and built in 1935, is considered "important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of place in Tasmania's history".
Before a tribunal hearing on October 28 last year, expert witnesses appearing for the City of Launceston and the Heritage Council argued that the garden on the property would be notably impacted by the development and that the subdivision would slash the garden curtilage by about one third.
Architecture and heritage conservation expert Ian Boersma, appearing for the Heritage Council, described the place as "beyond the ordinary", saying it was "among the finest examples of an Inter-war Old English style residence and garden in Tasmania, and an uncommon example of such a place with a large garden in an inner-suburban location".
But one of the appellant's grounds for appeal was that the datasheet mentioned the building and its characteristics, but not the garden, suggesting the Heritage Council had "strayed beyond the listed criteria of the place".
The tribunal noted that a disclaimer in the datasheet said it was not "intended to be a comprehensive inventory of the heritage values of the place, there may be other heritage values of interest to the Heritage Council not currently acknowledged".
Angus Wallace, an architecture and heritage expert appearing for the appellant, seemed to agree that the garden contributed to the significance of the place but his opinion differed to the other expert witnesses when it came to the extent of the garden's contribution.
The tribunal accepted that the proposal would "irreversibly and to an unacceptable degree diminish the historic cultural heritage of the place", according to the decision of RMPAT chairperson Marica Duvnjak and tribunal member David Masters.
"The curtilage of the dwelling would be significantly reduced by the proposed subdivision impacting the garden, the original driveway and a separation of the residence from its original setting which has been an intrinsic part of the residence, and a key element of significance," the decision read.
On January 8, the tribunal upheld the council's original decision.
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