ALBURY councillors are being told not to knock over an 1890s Kiewa Street building once owned by a man who represented the city as a mayor and NSW MP.
The current day owners of Meramie want to demolish the former residence and private hospital and replace it with four townhouses.
However, city planners want the premises retained and have recommended councillors, at their meeting on Monday night, reject development consent for the project.
Four reasons have been given for the direction.
They include: insufficient justification for the demolition and razing not being the only option for the building; negative impact on the precinct and Bonegilla conservation area; demolition being contrary to planning controls; approval undermining the community's expectations and aspirations for conserving heritage assets in the city.
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Council planning chief David Christy told councillors in a briefing last week he felt "unsympathetic additions" to the building could be removed and Meramie's heritage features preserved.
"That would enable then reuse of the site, it would open up more space for the site around it to be used as a dwelling and allow sympathetic additions to be attached," Mr Christy said.
He said a heritage building had a higher bar to reached for demolition and planning staff did not think it had been met.
A planning firm's report presented to the council on behalf of Meramie owners Ian and Joy Clark stated it would be "cost prohibitive" to repair the existing building.
Mr Christy said the figure provided was around $1 million.
Four objections and four endorsements for the development were received as part of council feedback.
Past mayor and MP Thomas Griffith lived at the house which has also been a hotel.
Those backing razing argued the building was an eyesore and attracted squatters and thieves.