Warwick landmark faces axe

One half of Plumb’s Chambers, the former Cantors building at 82 Fitzroy Street, will be demolished.
One half of Plumb’s Chambers, the former Cantors building at 82 Fitzroy Street, will be demolished.

A SILENT show of hands was what sealed the fate of the Cantors building at 82 Fitzroy Street at the Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) meeting yesterday.

Mayor Ron Bellingham said it was an “extremely sad decision” to demolish the landmark, one half of the historic Plumb’s Chambers.

“The white-ants have done what the demolition crew would have done,” Cr Bellingham said.

The 149-year-old building had a little retribution when SDRC councillors wandered the historic halls last week to make their “informed decision” about its future.

Cr Neil Meiklejohn said while on this walking tour, one of the councillors put their foot through the decaying floor boards.

“I didn’t take this decision lightly but it was in a significant state of disrepair,” Cr Meiklejohn said.

“It was home to one of the biggest termite nests I’ve ever seen.

“We didn’t want to make this decision behind closed doors.”

However, at last week’s SDRC Planning and Development meeting, Rose City Shoppingworld owners The McConaghy Group presented their case for one half of the Plumb’s demolition – to make way for the centre’s expansion – behind said closed doors.

The two-storey sandstone building at 84 Fitzroy Street is listed on the Queensland Heritage Register as being constructed in 1874 to 1875.

The McConaghy Group was given the green light last month to demolish the single-storey rear wing of the building by the State Department of Environment and Resource Management.

Number 84 will otherwise be restored and incorporated into the Rose City Shoppingworld expansion, for an as yet unspecified use.

“What is being proposed is what is best for our community with 84 (Fitzroy Street) being restored to a standard to reflect its previous state,” Cr Bellingham said.

“The bowed wall needs to be straightened but this is still a significant win for the community.

“It’s been a difficult process but we’ve showed what’s common sense, what’s achievable and what’s not.”

Cr Vic Pennisi said yesterday he did not see the demolition of one of Warwick’s historic buildings as a loss.

“I see it as a chance to turn Fitzroy Street into something special,” Cr Pennisi said.

“The shopping centre is expanding, it’s exciting... we’ll erect photos to show what once was.”

The successful motion at yesterday’s meeting in Stanthorpe to demolish 82 Fitzroy Street was moved by Cr Neil Meiklejohn and seconded by Peter Blundell.

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