Known as the Police Paddock, some see the site at 199 Wallace Street as of invaluable importance to Braidwood’s heritage and setting.
To others, it is a site that is prime for development, to bring jobs and people to the town and area.
After several development applications were turned down by council and heritage authorities, owners Samowill Pty Ltd appealed to the Land and Environment Court (LEC). Their appeal has been dismissed, in a judgement handed down on October 3.
The (LEC) Commissioner found the impact of the development would be of significant detrimental impact on the setting of Braidwood to warrant refusal.
The owners bought the site before Braidwood’s 2006 heritage listing, and lodged several development applications between 2008 and 2014. Their final application was turned down in April 2016, with the Heritage Council of NSW citing detrimental impact on “Braidwood and its setting”.
After six months of negotiation, the LEC terminated the conciliation process, and the case was heard by a commissioner of the Court in September.
After an archaeological survey of the site, the council and the NSW Heritage Office withdrew from its position that the site contained archaeological relics that would be impacted by the development.
The NSW Heritage Office continued to oppose the development, however, on grounds that the site would adversely impact the setting of Braidwood, the concept plans did not retain the appearance of a traditional Braidwood lot, and the development was inconsistent with the council’s planning controls.
Several members of the community also opposed the development, on grounds that the site had exceptional archaeological significance, and that a development in that location would impinge upon the green curtilage mentioned in Braidwood’s heritage listing.
The site was zoned ‘Village Residential’ and eligible for development when it was bought in 2005, said the developer’s representative in June. The company had gone above and beyond what was required of them to satisfy heritage requirements, and the proposed subdivision would not impact on any archaeological findings, the representative said.
Tony Cairns, a representative of Samowill, said he was “disappointed and disillusioned” with the judgement.
A Historical Society representative said they were pleased with the judgement, but declined to comment further.
An information report on the Police Paddock will be presented to council on Wednesday night.