Residents of Camberwell-Boroondara beware, the fate of a historically significant Kew house is at stake as cavalier developers try to maximise their profit at Kew’s expense.
La Verna is a magnificent property consisting of an 1870s mansion on 3 acres (albeit 7 titles) in Sackville Street Kew. Sackville Street is considered one of the finest streets in Kew and the street is protected by a  heritage overlay.

La Verna was previously owned by the Franciscans who sold to developers. They have been trying to develop the property since.

Two weeks ago (19/1/04), Council voted to apply for a site specific heritage overlay. This was in response to a petition by over 200 residents. A site specific heritage overlay is tougher than the aforementioned heritage overlay for the whole street.  The basis of the petition is the property is special because of its wonderful mansion, its beautiful gardens with some very old trees, its large land size, its special serpentine driveway and its glorious history.

What happened next?

During the Australia Day weekend, the developers turned the gardens into something that resembles the landscape on the moon. They torn up the lawns and chopped down 100-year-old Morton Bay Figs trees.

 The Council’s vote should have put them in a moral situation to do nothing until the application for a site specific heritage overlay was considered.

When residents returned from their holiday weekend,  they appeared shocked and some were openly crying.

Now guess what happens next?

This Monday Council is voting on a rescission motion to overturn the previous decision to apply for a site specific heritage overlay.

If Council votes to rescind, they are kowtowing to the developers. 

If you want to send a strong word to developers seeking to knock down beautiful heritage properties, attend the meeting and protest.

The meeting is on:

Monday 2 February 2004
at the Boroondara Council HQ
8 Inglesby Road Camberwell
at 7.45pm.

For the record, at the original vote two weeks ago, the 5 Councillors that voted FOR the Site Specific Heritage Overlay were:

  1. Meridith Butler  [email protected] 
  2. Geoff Hayes  [email protected] 
  3. Heinz Kreutz  [email protected] 
  4. Coral Ross  [email protected] 
  5. Dennis whelan  [email protected] 

The 4 that voted against were:

  1. Mayor Judith Voce   [email protected]
  2. Gina Goldsmith  [email protected] 
  3. Chris Pattas  [email protected] 
  4. Keith Walter AM  [email protected] 

Absent was Jack Wegman  [email protected] 

Give the Councillors a call. Email them. Tell them it is uncool. Tell them to Stand up against the Developers tactics. No kowtowing to inappropriate developments. Who knows? It might happen to your neighbourhood next?

Peter Fray

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