Heritage upheld in Dulwich Hill. Photo: Lanie Tindale

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By Lanie Tindale

The Inner West Council has had its decision to pause the development of a Dulwich Hill heritage home into an apartment block upheld on appeal.

The Interim Heritage Order was placed in March this year, giving Council six months breathing room to consider the Development Application on the property.

The home at 73 The Boulevarde Dulwich Hill is a five-bedroom, three-bathroom house on a 645sqm block which sold for $2.5 million in 2017.

In the sales brochure the property was described as exuding “all the personality of its era with many beautiful character details and preserved hallmarks of its c1920s origin.”

The house had been in the same family for five generations, which possibly explains why it did not already have a heritage listing.

The company seeking the development, Forte Construction Group Pty Ltd, lost its appeal to the Environment Land and Environment Court on August 3.

The court dismissed the appeal on the grounds “The dwelling has an aesthetically distinctive interior…there is a real chance that it will be found to be of local heritage significance on this criterion as the integrity and intact nature of the interior, together with the combination of the inglenook (fireplace), timber panelling and other applied ornament (is rare).”

In a statement through the Inner West Council media, Councillor Mark Drury said he sought the advice of Council staff to see how they could protect the property after local residents informed him of the application.

“I was a bit surprised the building wasn’t already heritage listed,” he said.

The application to develop the property caused outcry among residents when it became public in March.

Commenting on the Government Gazette website, President of Marrickville Heritage Society Scott MacArthur said that the society did not support the development application.

Mr. MacArthur described the house as being rare and significant.

“The developer has proposed to erect a four-storey block of flats, with a flat roof that is grossly out of scale and character with the adjacent house…and the Victorian villas further along The Boulevarde,” he said.

“All of the historic houses in The Boulevarde are under threat of high rise redevelopment due to the State Government’s Metro Rail rezoning proposal, and Council should be actively seeking to protect this precinct by declaring it a Conservation Area.”

In her submission, resident Isobel Deane expressed a broader dissatisfaction with Council and what she perceived as its bias to overdevelopment.

“Goodness me council. Do you not read the fatigue and frustration in the words of your residents? We are tired of the lack of your consideration towards your constituents and the push for construction. Please. Give it a rest.”

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said in a statement the appeal decision “is a huge win for Dulwich Hill.

“We need to send a message to developers that they can’t bulldoze their way through our communities and destroy the buildings that give the Inner West its unique character,” he said.