Holbrook locals have expressed dismay at the likelihood of an impressive building in their main street being destroyed due to the presence of loose-fill asbestos.
The former Australia Cafe building at 95 Albury Street has been purchased by Property NSW, along with a motel near the Hume Freeway off-ramp.
Greater Hume councillors will consider a development application by Public Works Advisory to demolish the old cafe building on Wednesday night.
Environment and planning director Colin Kane has recommended the demolition be approved, subject to numerous conditions, but noted in his report “it is undeniable that the building has considerable heritage and aesthetic value” and it was “very unfortunate” it contained asbestos.
“There is a public benefit in maintaining people‘s health by fully demolishing the building … (and) it should take precedence over the loss of a building with aesthetic and heritage value,” he concluded.
The 1900s building has been vacant for nearly six months after half of an op-shop run through the Anglican Church had to relocate with the government’s purchase.
David Lieschke, who runs the Holden dealership across the road, offered volunteers use of an old home he owns next to the car yard to sell the displaced furniture.
“It would be a crying shame if that building was pulled down,” Mr Lieschke said.
Maureen Nicholls, who has volunteered at the op-shop for eight years, said “everybody’s very sad” about the prospect of the building being pulled down.
“It’s going to be a big gap in the street and it will be left to be seen whether anybody buys the land,” she said.
An objector to the demolition outlined in a submission the facade should be preserved, but that was deemed not possible due to the need for propping, and that it would impede on NSW Property’s chances at reselling the site.
While 38 homes in the town have been impacted by the voluntary purchase and demolition program, 95 Albury Street and Glenndale Park motel will be the first commercial properties affected.
They owners will sell the land but continue operating the sister motel across the street, the Jolly Swagman.
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