Letters to the Braidwood Times | June 15 2017

The Police Paddock at 199 Wallace Street. Photo: Elspeth Kernebone.
The Police Paddock at 199 Wallace Street. Photo: Elspeth Kernebone.

In response to your editorial of June 5 2017, in particular comments by Mr Stahel:

"A compromise would have been a loss to the community and heritage.”

  • The community don't own it. 
  • Then Director of the Heritage Office(HO), said in 2008:"This is private land, the owner is entitled to develop it".
  • It is less than 7% of the Police Paddock.
  • It is opposite, behind and adjacent existing buildings, many of which have already encroached upon more significant sites eg the gaol.

"A threat to the historical significance of the site.”

  • The location of the barracks is not visible from publicly accessible areas.
  • It is adjacent to a former Crown closed extension of Solus St, also purchased by the applicant to facilitate the development.
  • That means that at some stage in the past, town planners with more vision than the current short-sighted zealots foreshadowed extension of Solus St and the village/town into the  Police Paddock.

"To list the town, then 10 years on develop on the areas listed, seems pointless to some. It would kind of make a mockery of the whole 2006 listing."

  • The area was purchased prior to the listing.
  • It has always been zoned for development including the current DCP (vetted by the HO itself incidentally).
  • The D's started eight years ago, not 10 years after the listing, delays and postponements forced by Council, bureaucratic entities and HO delays, obfuscation and outright obstruction to a series of applications, and withdrawals as a consequence.

"The site could be used to enhance the tourist potential of the town.”

  • Yeah? How? What about this?:
  • Based on my experience on Council's 355 Tourism Committee, including as Chairman, the plan was to triple the motel accommodation and place a number of heritage-style cabins on the site so that tour operators could accommodate a bus load at one location, a major deterrent to tourism which persists to this day. But the proposal was dismissed by the then Council Heritage adviser, and abandoned in favour of a series of applications along the current lines.

"There are other ways of developing the site that would bring great value to him...and the town.”

  • Again, yeah? How? 
  • Firstly this situation is not about "him" (presumably me). 
  • It's about a young single parent and his three children who have been significant contributors to Braidwood society and who have had incredible financial impost placed upon them by this farce.
  • Secondly, the site does not, and won't ever, if the HO gets up in this contest, have public access.

With respect to what appears to be editorial comment:

"Questioning the values enshrined by the town's 2006 heritage listing.” 

  • What does this mean? Are you referring to "view cones" or "curtilage"? Or something else? 
  • Any fool can see that Braidwood's architecture spans over 160 years, is so varied within the "forbidden zone" that there is no single characteristic style, and the area in dispute is situated alongside and opposite existing buildings reflecting that diversity.

"The group argued that development was a threat to the historical significance of the site.”

  • We have met HO's stringent, arguably oppressive vexatious demands, identifying and isolating the area of significance.
  • We are required to ensure that the sites are not compromised by the development.

" Submissions made against the development argued that the site preserved" the abrupt transition at the town boundary between built and pastoral landscapes,"which highlights significant historical settlement patterns".

  • What are these people smoking? Do they actually live in Braidwood? Several buildings and structures (Braidwood) on both sides of the road commence 1.1kms before the intersection of Solus and Wallace St.'s in front of the motel.

What does "historical settlement patterns" mean?

Look at the NSW Government website listing NSW's top 10  historical (not hysterical) towns, Braidwood (Deadwood?) doesn't even make it!

Tony Cairns, Charleys Forest.

Helping heritage

Many of the current methods of communication are quick and interesting but they disappear. I am concerned about the lack of letters and none in the papers to record our history. The lack of history by our councils is evident in rules that are changed without research.

I am going through my office  at the moment and found the court case I won against  the Department of Education and Tallaganda Shire. The former wanted to destroy the Old Mill in Mackellar Street in 1972. I saved this building but not the two stone cottages along side or the two brick cottages between the Old Garage Coffee shop and the Museum.  

Actually without any consultation with me the Minister’s  plan was to demolish the whole corner for the high school. What an entrance to Braidwood! At the time this was our cafe, youth club (the school members demonstrated to save this) art school and handcraft shop.

I have a letter from the Department of Education saying they would replace the Wallace St gap with a six foot chain mesh fence perfectly in keeping with the town. Firstly this was cricket nets removed after breaking my windows then fortunately replaced by a park by local Artists

The National Trust came to our aid by classifying the town and the Heritage Council restored most of the verandas in the main street  which were taken down by a state council ordinance as they were dangerous to cars. They also restored  some houses in Elrington St.

The conditions were that the owners maintained them in keeping with  our architectural heritage and that bollards were installed in Wallace to protect them from cars. Some state restrictions on old buildings were also removed.

What happened to these contracts? This history and preservation of our streetscape has made Braidwood the popular tourist centre it has become. I can remember the dying town when I came here in 1950.

Margaret Royds, Bedervale.


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