Clash between heritage and affordable housing in Blaxland

Preserving history: 27 Hope St in Blaxland has been recommended for heritage listing. The Glenbrook owners want to build affordable housing on the block.

Preserving history: 27 Hope St in Blaxland has been recommended for heritage listing. The Glenbrook owners want to build affordable housing on the block.

The owners of a house in Blaxland were planning on removing it and building affordable housing on the large block.

But in a heritage review conducted by Blue Mountains City Council, the house was found to have historical significance, and a heritage listing was suggested.

The house, at 27 Hope St, was one of 68 new heritage items identified in the Mountains in the review.

“We bought the house 2.5 years ago,” said owner Anthony Iaria. “We never thought the house would be heritage listed.”

Built in the early 1900s, Anglican minister Reverend Charles Stubbin used the house as his holiday home.

If they end up doing all of Pope St, there will be nice houses with nice frontages and our house will stick out like a sore thumb. - Anthony Iaria

It also sits close to the home of another Anglican minister, Joshua Hargrave.

“The cottage makes an important streetscape contribution to the character of Hope Street and relates well visually with one of the period cottages close by at 23 Hope Street, associated with Rev Joshua Hargraves. It is important as a rare surviving early twentieth century house close to the centre of Blaxland,” the review notes.

“The house still retains much of its late Federation form, character and features, such as hipped rooofs, gables, timber verandah and decorative brackets, carved friezework and large decorative windows.” 

Mr Iaria said if it was to be heritage listed, “we will have do do something else to try and work around the house”. 

He was also concerned that when Blaxland is revitalised through the masterplan process underway, the house would look out of place.

“If they end up doing all of Pope St, there will be nice houses with nice frontages and our house will stick out like a sore thumb,” he said.  

The heritage review was discussed at the September council meeting. Mrs Iaria spoke against adopting the proposed changes to the draft heritage schedule.

Cr Kevin Schreiber questioned how the couple could build affordable housing around the potentially heritage listed home. “It would look like chalk and cheese.”

Cr Schreiber tried to get the house removed from the schedule as “affordable housing is badly needed in the Mountains”. But a council staffer advised against this, so councillors endorsed the original motion. The proposal will be sent to the Department of Planning  and will go on public exhibition early next year.

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