FRANKSTON homeowners say their homes have been proposed for heritage protection despite no site visits being conducted.
Frankston Council’s “gap heritage review” has seen multiple properties earmarked for heritage protection, limiting what homeowners can do with their houses.
Sharleen Ueckermann purchased a home in the Frankston area 18 months ago. She said that the process used by Frankston Council to decide if her home should be subject to heritage restrictions was “draconian”.
“We only got to hear about it very late in the game, in October last year when it was all done and dusted,” she told The Times.
“We’ve only purchased the property 18 months ago, and one of the questions we asked was if there was any heritage overlay and was it being considered for anything. That would have affected our decision at the auction, and that came back negative.”
Ms Ueckermann said that nobody had conducted a site visit at her home before it was proposed for heritage protection. “We hadn’t seen them, they’d just taken a photograph of the house through the gates,” she said.
“There’s a lot of information in the report that’s incorrect, and there’s inconsistencies. I’m not going to talk on their behalf, but this process needs to change.”
Frankston mayor Kris Bolam said that heritage consultants had recommended that 33 local places be further investigated for heritage protection.
“As part of the further investigation of the 33 places, field work comprising site inspections, as seen from the public realm were undertaken. Where a place was not clearly visible from the public realm, aerial photography was used along with other historical information including building plans,” he said.
“In response to the concerns raised by landowners, council supported further inclusive consultation to be undertaken including a drop-in session, opportunities for landowners to meet with heritage consultants and council officers, and a range of additional information was made available on council’s website.
“Council has an obligation under the state government’s Planning and Environment Act to consider the protection and preservation of heritage places for future generations. The purpose of planning controls is not necessarily to guide land use or development. As such, the purpose of a heritage overlay is to recognise the local significance of places and assist protecting and preserving such places for future generations. Landowners can still undertake buildings and works that are sympathetic to the heritage significance of the place.”
At a recent council meeting, five property owners affected by the heritage review made submissions slamming council’s process. The heritage proposal will be considered by council again at a meeting on 17 May.
“As part of the consultation process, councillors will provide an opportunity for submitters to the Frankston Heritage Gap Review to present to them at a council meeting on 17 May. Submitters will be advised of the details shortly,” Cr Bolam said.