THE National Trust’s Victorian branch is calling for urgent protection of the old St Paul’s Boys Home in Newhaven, which it describes as one of the region's most significant heritage places.
Earlier this month the National Trust wrote to Bass Coast Shire Council warning the complex was at risk of “demolition by neglect” and seeking a meeting to discuss this issue. The council is yet to reply.
Despite that, there is limited security on the site, which is awaiting redevelopment as an apartment complex. Periodically the old buildings are boarded up and just as regularly the boards are torn down. There are no security fences.
As Pete Granger reported in the Post last month (The waste lands, August 3, 2018), doors and windows have been smashed, fittings stolen and taggers have left their mark.
The chief executive officer of National Trust of Australia (Victoria), Simon Ambrose, said the trust was also liaising with the Bass Coast Branch of the National Trust.
“The National Trust is concerned about the ongoing deterioration of the St Paul's Boys Home, one of the region's most significant heritage places.
“We call on the owners of the property to secure and maintain the site. We also seek a commitment from Bass Coast Shire Council to take urgent action on this issue.”
In 2013 the National Trust commissioned a report on the issue of demolition by neglect in Victoria. It includes a model bylaw for councils to deal with locally significant properties threatened by neglect.
The report recommends councils strengthen local laws to govern maintenance of derelict or dilapidated buildings, permit greater enforcement powers and introduce sufficient penalties to provide a disincentive.
It says regular reviews and condition audits should also be undertaken to ensure the overlay is comprehensive and up to date, and identify properties at risk.
In 2014, with the support of the Heritage Council of Victoria, the trust ran a forum of planners and experts to formulate policy initiatives to deal with the issue at local government level.