Kanimbla Hospital is no longer at the corner of Dragon and Locke Sts.
Kanimbla Hospital is no longer at the corner of Dragon and Locke Sts.

Behind the times?

A PROPOSED new heritage list for the region is a real trip down memory lane, but in some cases it's for all the wrong reasons.

The list - which has been on public display as part of a new planning scheme drafted for the Southern Downs - contains multiple entries for a range of "historic" buildings which have been gone for years, as well as multitude of other errors.

Among former sites the list aims to protect for future generations are the former Warwick Show pavilion, which was destroyed in the late 1990s, the Universal Hotel on Grafton St, which burnt to the ground just over two years ago, and the old Kings Laundry on Palmerin St, now occupied by the new Supa IGA.

But on the flipside, a number of buildings which have been on the State Government's Heritage Register for decades have been left off the council list, including the Assmanshausen Winery at Sandy Creek and the older of the two Plumb's Chambers buildings at 82 Fitzroy St in Warwick.

If adopted, the planning scheme containing the heritage list will replace the former Warwick and Stanthorpe Shire plans, which have stayed in force since amalgamation.

Council planning staff have been working on the regional plan since the council merger in 2008 and if signed off by the State Government - which has the final say on council planning schemes - it is expected to go live early next year.

Today is the final day for public submissions, with a council spokeswoman yesterday adamant the deadline could not be extended, despite concerns raised over the heritage provisions and other proposed new rules in recent days.

These concerns include limited rights of objection to duplexes in established "big backyard" streets and what planners have said are regulations limiting commercial development in the Warwick CBD and residential expansion in towns such as Killarney and Allora.

A council spokeswoman yesterday said 54 submissions had been received from the public on the draft scheme, with at least half of these understood to relate to proposed heritage listings.

She was unable to comment on inconsistencies on the heritage list as senior planning officers were not in the office yesterday, but she did confirm the Toowoomba-based consultants who compiled the study were those who put together the original Warwick Town Plan heritage list more than a decade ago.

One person questioning the accuracy of the heritage list is Glengallan Homestead Trust chairman and long-time local heritage campaigner Donna Fraser.

Mrs Fraser said a combination of inaccuracies, a lack of historical notes against entries and little clarity of what inclusion on the list means for property owners undermined its reliability.

"It raises a lot of questions and it's no wonder people run a mile when heritage listing comes up," she said.

"There are sites on there that probably shouldn't be on there and some are clearly missing.

"We need to know on what basis did the consultants exclude or include certain sites, if they consulted long-term residents and the authors of local history publications or if they simply updated the former Warwick Shire list."

Mrs Fraser described the proposed list as "a flawed document" and called on the council to get it right to secure the protection of our heritage, from a tourism perspective as well as property ownership.

"Warwick is unique for having been around longer than Queensland itself," Mrs Fraser said.

"It contains a significant historical fabric and we need to look very closely at what is included on this list, as well as educating owners of heritage property about the implications of listing."

The Daily News is calling for the feedback period for the new planning scheme to be extended until at least the end of September.



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