Heritage status out the door?

Jenny Barlass

A question mark hangs over the heritage status of a charming Epping cottage, with a developer wanting to knock it down and put up two 15 and 17 storey blocks housing 200 apartments plus retail.

The future of the cottage at 48 Oxford Street Epping is now being considered by the Sydney Central West Planning Panel. DA applicant Pirsata wants its status, set down under powers granted to City of Parramatta Council, overturned to clear the way for the $66million development.

But at a hearing last month the Panel agreed it needed to seek legal advice over who has the power to overturn the heritage status.

Epping MP Damien Tudehope has stepped in and taken the plight of the cottage on board, taking leave from Parliament to address the Planning Panel hearing to that effect.

He said that Planning Panels don’t have the right to decide on heritage matters. “It would be an abuse of power for the Planning Panel to usurp City of Parramatta Council’s authority to determine the heritage status of the cottage.

“The purpose of drafting the Local Environment Plan (LEP) is to allow proper consultation for the community. The applicant in this instance appears to be seeking to deprive the council and community of their role in respect of heritage LEPs.”

A decision on the cottage will be made once the Panel has obtained legal advice and given the applicant time to consult how the site might be retained and incorporated into the DA.

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