HUNTERS Hill Council on Monday night approved a controversial rear addition to a heritage terrace in Alexandra Street that could have significant ramifications on the way councillors deal with future heritage and solar power issues.
The addition to the 130 year old terrace at 14 Alexandra Street was approved by four votes to two despite objections from neighbours who argued that it would have an adverse impact on the Victorian era architecture of the building, impact on the streetscape and block sunlight to solar panels at 12 Alexandra Street.
Applicant John Courtney argued that it was his right as a home owner to extend the rear of the terrace – regardless of its heritage – and a staff report suggested the extension would not detrimentally impact on the row of adjoining terraces.
Further advice was that there is no State Government law that bans a development blocking sunlight access to a neighbouring solar energy panel.
Councillor Gary Bird warned of creating a dangerous precedent if such a ban were introduced at a local level.
“In a worst case scenario there is still sun here from 10am and if we start refusing applications based on solar panels we create a dangerous precedent,” he said.
Councillor Peter Astridge voted to refuse the application on heritage grounds.
“This could create a bad heritage precedent and I’m quite concerned that if we start messing around with these heritage properties we will open a can of worms,” he said.
“These three terrace houses, considered together, are unique heritage properties in Hunters Hill and should be protected.”
THE RIGHT to a waterfront view is no right at all, a Hunters Hill family found out at last Monday night’s council meeting.
The Plowman family of Gladstone Avenue had objected to a carport proposed by the neighbours the Andersons on the grounds that it would obscure their view of the Lane Cove River.
They described the proposed carport as massive and ugly and asked councillors how they would feel if a similar carport blocked their own views.
In reply, the Anderson family argued that it only blocked the Plowman’s side views and that building an alternative underground carport would be costly and would remove a significant amount of sandstone bedrock.
Councillor Zac Miles backed the Andersons and said that it was “unreasonable” to deny a young family a carport.
Councillor Bird agreed.
“When you look at the view loss, it is not devastating, it is reasonable and I don’t think this family should be excavating.”
The Plowman family were backed by Clr Astridge who said there was plenty of room to build a lower level carport and he was surprised no heritage restrictions protected the site.
He was supported by Clr Dr Meredith Sheil.
“This carport is a big problem and sits in front of a prominent bay window, so it is a big call to approve a carport that will obscure the main views to the river.”