30, 2006, Braidwood and its setting were officially listed on the NSW
State Heritage Register. Planning Minister Frank Sartor made
the announcement in Ryrie Park. "Braidwood is a rare surviving
example of Georgian period town planning, dating from the 1830s,"
said Minister Sartor. "I am happy to list the town, which will
guarantee that its unique character is retained. We have struck a balanced
decision, to allow heritage to underpin the town's prosperity and to
help the region's strong economic growth and dynamic communities."
to everyone who worked so hard to make this important decision a reality.
Development in Braidwood
Australia’s Last Georgian Town
The historic Southern Tablelands town of Braidwood, settled in the
1820s and established between 1837 and 1839, is facing a devastating
tide of inappropriate urban sprawl.
Two huge subdivisions on rural land surrounding the intact 19th century
village were approved by Palerang Council this month despite strong
community opposition and the concerns of councillors that they were
forced to make a poor decision.
The developments, with a combined 186 house sites, will increase the
size of the town by at least 50% with the potential for more.
The Council openly admits that the precedent set by this decision
under their outdated planning rules will give developers “open
slather” for further developments which will obliterate this
unique piece of Australian heritage.
No impact studies were undertaken and Council refused to consider
the obvious negative implications of the developments to the heritage
significance of the town nor the imminent implementation of better
guidelines with a forthcoming revised Development Control Plan.
Council received 140 submissions from residents opposing the developments,
and none in support, however Council dismissed community concerns
as being irrelevant.
Devastated residents hope that the Minister assisting the Minister
for Planning, Dianne Beamer, will recommend that an Interim Heritage
Order be placed on Braidwood and its setting to allow time for proper
planning procedures to be implemented with the assistance of the NSW
are set to begin work on the two sites within a few weeks time.
An Interim Heritage Order would reverse the decisions made by Council
and could be kept in place until the Government, the Heritage Office
and the community are able to reach a reasonable compromise with the
developers satisfying all considerations. Anyone concerned at the
destruction of this valuable historical town should write immediately
to the Minister or to their local Member of Parliament to ask that
Braidwood be protected for everyone.
The town was classified by the National Trust of Australia in the
1976 as a unique entity worth preserving – at a time when no
State or Federal legislation existed for the protection of built heritage
Braidwood was included on the Register of the National Estate in 1980,
but this classification carries no protection in law.
is not currently protected by any heritage legislation. National Trust
Listing and National Estate listings only serve to emphasise the historical
importance of the town, but cannot protect it.
- In 2002
the NSW Heritage Office proposed classification of Braidwood as an historic
place on the State Heritage Register – the first time that a NSW
town would be listed as an assemblage of buildings in a setting.
classification of Braidwood would allow the town and its surroundings
to be protected from inappropriate development by encouraging the Council
to access better planning, and to follow “best practice”
in designing new buildings in Braidwood.
Heritage items are protected in law enabling local planning rules to
be enforced, a far better protection for the community than local Council
Development Control Plan (DCP) and Local Environment Plan (LEP) documents
which are effectively just guidelines.
listing would not stop development but would encourage good and careful
planning of developments which are sympathetic to the sensitive existing
listing would discourage large urban sprawls immediately adjoining the
village which would remove the rural outlook from the historic town.
listed properties are eligible for substantial discounts on community
charges such as rates, and all heritage listed properties in Braidwood,
including modern buildings falling within the classified area, would
typically be eligible for a reduction of 20% in rates.
listing provides security for purchasers of properties that the area
they buy into is carefully controlled, thereby ensuring that their investment
is protected from unexpected future changes. Property values of both
historic buildings and modern homes in conservation areas have been
proven to rise when areas are protected by heritage classification.
developers have claimed that their developments will provide cheap housing
for the children of local families. Three years ago there were many
houses in Braidwood available for sale at under $100,000. Since 2002
much of the vacant land and the less expensive homes on large sites
in and around the village have been purchased by property developers,
artificially inflating prices so that today there are no houses for
sale for less than $200,000.
- When the
current large scale developments are complete the large quantity of
small modern homes available on the very quiet Braidwood housing market
will have the effect of devaluing many of the existing homes.
is a unique historical town which needs special planning measures.
- In approving
the developments almost all heritage advice has been ignored.
- 1997 studies
recommended that the area in question be rezoned to “rural”
to protect it from such development.
old DCP had no provisions for Section 94 developer contributions that
would require a developer to contribute to community expenses amplified
by his development like swimming pools, recreation facilities, libraries,
footpaths and other public amenities. Waiting to approve a development
under a revised DCP would have allowed the community to benefit from
these contributions instead of requiring the community to pay these
costs, which means that the community is subsidising the developer.
have been very few speculative housing developments involving large
- The organic
growth, wealth of fine 19th century buildings, and rural setting have
all contributed to make Braidwood an iconic historic rural village for
visitors and there is a strong local economy based on tourism and history
which supplements rural activities.
- The town
has attracted a very large arts community which has grown steadily since
the 1950s and which includes painters, writers, photographers, film
makers, musicians, textile artists, cabinetmakers and craftspeople.
has been the setting for some of Australia’s definitive films
including “Ned Kelly”, “The Year my Voice Broke”,
“On Our Selection”, "Forty Thousand Horsemen",
"Robbery Under Arms" and “Finding Joy”, and it’s
intact state give it an unsurpassed potential for future film making.
- It hosts
an impressive array of cultural festivals including “The Airing
of the Quilts”, Heritage celebrations, Music festivals, Arts festivals
and recently the “Two Fires” Festival celebrating the arts
and activism of poet and writer Judith Wright.
people should write to:
NSW Heritage Office
Locked Bag 5020,
Parramatta NSW 2124
Fax: (02) 9873 8599
Minister Assisting the Minister for Infrastructure & Planning
Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
Sydney NSW 2000
Fax: (02) 9228 4131
Einspruch: 0409 609 428
Antony Davies: 0438 126 987