MORE than 300 heritage-listed buildings in Albury could be demolished simply through a majority vote of city councillors.
Only 11 buildings, listed of state significance, enjoy strong protection in the NSW Heritage Act.
Landmarks such as the Albury War Memorial, the Regent Cinemas, the Albury Art Gallery, the post office and the CML clock-tower are protected only by council listings.
But the council is legally bound to advertise proposed demolition of any of listed buildings to allow for public comment.
Such would be the case with the former wool store housing the Australian Taxation Office if the owners decided, as they threatened this week, to consider demolition after 2012.
It was also the case with the Allied Mills’ flour mill, which the council was about to approve for demolition six months ago until, in a rare instance, a member of the public protested and convinced the Heritage Office to intervene, delaying a decision for months.
Heritage officers in Sydney are still considering a new heritage expert’s assessment of whether the State Government should issue an interim development order on the mill, which would defer a decision for a further year.
This would give time for Planning Minister Tony Kelly to “state list” the building, but meanwhile the company’s plans to sell the site in Young Street are on hold.
State-protected items include the railway station and Murray River railway bridge, the Bethanga Bridge, Murray Conservatorium, Waterstreets’ Hotel, Elm Court motel, Model Store (Elk’s), The Carriageway in Smollett Street, Bonegilla House in Kiewa Street, New Albury Hotel and a Guinea Street cafe near the Star Hotel.
Why the conservatorium has state protection and not the post office or art gallery is unclear, though possibly this is because of its former role as an inter-colonial telegraph office.
Landmarks such as the T&G tower and Adamshurst have only council protection and St Matthew’s and St Patrick’s churches are in a similar category.
A planning document due to be gazetted mid-year will add more items to the council heritage list, and delete those such as the Dalgety wool store and Fallon’s wine cellar that were allowed to be demolished.