Heritage Planning Case Study

Published: 2021-06-21 23:44:06
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The Name of the Class (Course)
The Name of the School (University)
The City and State where it is located
Background of the Report
The NSW government introduced the Heritage Act in 1977. The introduction of the Act was in response to the community concern about the loss that the environmental heritage of the State was undergoing (Soutullo, 2010). The loss was heavily experienced in areas such as Woolloomooloo and Kings Cross. The local and State government agencies in conjunction with the local communities and professionals imparted heritage management skills to the citizens so as to meet this statutory obligation.
The governmental of NSW has a duty to manage cultural and natural heritage on behalf of the citizens. In partnership with the local councils and the community, the State has come with a heritage management system to take care of the natural heritage (Soutullo, 2010). The system consists of three steps, which include:
- Investigate significance
- Assess significance
- Manage significance
The steps are enshrined in a Heritage Manual and apply to all types of heritage items from individual houses to industrial sites. Before any development project is approved, a heritage assessment is conducted to find out the impact the project will have on the existing heritage. The assessment criteria entail four values encapsulated in the Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter (Soutullo, 2010). The values are recognized as generic by Australian heritage agencies and professional consultants. The criteria include:
- Historical significance
- Aesthetic significance
- Scientific significance
- Social significance
It is on this background that this Statement of Heritage Impact report in prepared and submitted to the consent authority for approval.
Statement of Heritage Impact
This Statement of Heritage Impact (SHI) is an annexure to the Development application for a construction of new buildings within St Mark’s Catholic Primary School complex at Drummoyne. The proposed development contains two components, that is, Demolition of a 1903 single-story classroom block, and alterations and additions to existing school hall, including the addition of a second story building as a new library. The school is situated along 31 Tranmere Street, Drummoyne. The Building Education Revolution program (BER) funds the project. The project will have little impact on the key heritage ambiance and visual aspects in the public domain along the street. The proposed area where the project is to be constructed is heritage friendly. The area is shielded from heritage elements and is placed a distant away from the heritage element.
The scene of St Mark’s parish and school buildings is a manifestation of evolution of types of structures built in the 20th century. St Mark’s parish and school buildings are locally listed as a heritage item (Canada Bay Local Environmental Plan 2008). Its significance is to add to the contribution that the Catholic Church bring in Drummoyne since 1888. The items exist in a historical and visual association along other locally listed buildings including the Drummoyne Public Primary School (Item 405) and the Water Tower (Item 404). All these items co-exist within each other’s vicinity along South Street.
This Report will more particularly utilize the impact assessment criteria published by the Heritage Branch of the NSW Department of Planning for Statements of Heritage Impact. It will assess the nature of the new development as it impacts upon the continued heritage appreciation of its immediate context.
Site Identification
Figure 1.0
This is a sate light image showing the position of St Mark’s primary school/parish land parcel pointed by the red border. The proposed building is on the rear side of the land and is shown by the blue circle. The red arrow points to the historic classroom (component 1) set for demolition. The green oval area shows the key heritage ambiance.
(Source: http://maps.google.com.au/maps?hl=en&tab=wl)
Suburban Context and Heritage Listings
Drummoyne suburb is situated six kilometers west of Sidney on the southern side of the Parramatta River. The suburb is of great significance to the local government area. It has aesthetics, historic, scientific, and social meanings all recognized and documented in statutory and non-statutory listings, as well as development guidelines. All these measures are geared towards conserving key suburban characteristics.
St Mark’s Catholic Primary School complex is sited on a relatively tight parcel of land. It is bordered by residential developments at each side. The resultant scene is that of a mixture of large educational and religious institutions, as well as domestic housing. The school is 120 years old. In the past few years, the catholic community in this region has been developing a master plan to renovate the school. The plan is meant to provide contemporary studying facility for the ever-increasing number of students in the school.
This Report is based on the advice given by the City of Canada Bay Duty Planner. The planner offered useful background on Council understands of the school grounds within their Heritage Conservation Area. It also provided the Council’s inventory information, which would otherwise have been sourced from for the site. The fact that the site is exposed in a religious environment, and its key themes include aesthetic presentation largely contributes to streetscape. In addition to this features, the project’s building components, its landscapes, as well as its value to the community makes its construction worthwhile. The project has a low-key visual dialogue with the major heritage aspects in the area. It is on this background that we consider that the proposed development have a low heritage impact.
Figure 1.2
Figure 1.2 represents the Current NSW Lands Department image. It shows the presentation of the site together with the location of the proposed component 1(pointed by the green arrow) and 2 (pointed by the white arrow).The green oval represents the key aesthetic ambiance and the strongly contributive visual perspectives into the site.
(Source: http://imagery.maps.nsw.gov.au)
The Development Proposal
The proposed works are outlined in the plan accompanying this report. The plan contains two components, one dealing with the demolition of classroom structure built back in 1903 (component 1). The second component involves the alterations and additions to the subsisting school hall, which include the addition of a new library at second floor. There will also be a construction of an overhead connector walkway with integrated accessibility arrangements (component 2).
Considerations for component 1:
The building-forming component A is the oldest building in the school compound. The Council through its inventory identifies the building as a key element of the heritage listed church and school group. The building has however undergone various alterations in the recent past. For instance, about one-third of its southwest end was demolished in 1960s to allow for adjoining school building. Similarly, all its windows were replaced pursuant to the aircraft noise abatement program. The interior of the building has also been renovated.
The alterations to this building over time have squeezed between other buildings. Its original serenity has adversely been affected. Although the building has some historic and social significance to the church, the school, and the local community at large, the significance has been heavily compromised by the degraded condition of its aesthetic and scientific significance.
When component A is compared with other suburban church and schools, it is discovered that the building lacks rarity values. The building as it stands now is a large single classroom area. The alteration the building has undergone has compromised it historic element. The building faces logistical difficulties to sustainably perform its intended educational purposes. Further, the presence of that building will seriously jeopardize the achievement of a larger school utilization and development strategy.
Essential Heritage Considerations of this Report
St Mark’s Catholic Primary School, Drummoyne, which is the subject under consideration, is located in a listed Heritage Conservation Area (HCA). The whole site of the school is also a listed group heritage item. The Council’s physical description of this site particularly identifies the Church, the Presbytery, the 1903 school building, and the grounds, including landscape elements. These items are governed by the City of Canada Bay Local Environmental Plan 2008 and are enumerated in Schedule 5 of that plan. The Council’s statement of significance recognizes the church and the school as fundamental community buildings located in attractive grounds within the local streetscape. The plants and in particular the palm tree add to these special importance
The letter and the spirit of the Canada Bay Local Environmental Plan 2008 are enshrined in part 5.10, which talks about heritage conservation. Paragraph 2 of this section provides the requirement for consent while paragraph 5 is about Heritage Impact Assessment. We seek for development approval under the Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Act 2009. The Act does not provide any specific requirements relating to heritage. As a result, our report will follow the standard format for the preparation of Heritage Impact documents as published in the SHI. The publication is found in the NSW Heritage Manual and prepared by the NSW Heritage Office. NSW Heritage Office is currently the Heritage Branch of the NSW Department of Planning. Recommendations herein are made on the basis of accessed documentary evidence and inspection of the subsisting fabric.
Documentary Sources
The preparation of this SHI report is based on the research conducted for preparing the draft the draft conservation management plan for the Stanmere street housing precinct. It defines a Master Plan prepared by the architectural team, which was used for redeveloping and conservation of the Precinct. It has received a lot of input from all relevant agencies and authorities on mechanisms to ensure it retains its significance and quality.
Archival Recording
It is important that any development consent for a development proposal should require a comprehensive photographic record to be deposited with the consent authority. The records should be prepared prior to the commencement of the project. In this regard, our development proposal as illustrated in figure 1.0 will act as a recording in fulfillment of this requirement.
Evaluation of the NSW Heritage Branch Guidelines
The evaluation seeks to answer the questions contained in the NSW Heritage Manual ‘Statements of Heritage Impact’ guidelines relating to the development of a heritage item or conservation area.
Factors enhancing the heritage significance of the items or conservation area
The proposed building is planned in such a way that its development will not substantially detract from the requirement of key heritage items. While the plan includes demolition of an existing structure, it is our position that the same is done in good faith and in the best interest of the Conservation area. The proposal has the capacity to improve; learning conditions in and around the school. The new building will be separated from other adjacent heritage items on the site and local vicinity. It also has limited visual corridors to key heritage items along the Tranmere Street.
The site is beautifully placed between school plant and its buildings. Component 2 is situated far away from the Church, the Presbytery, and the Tranmere Street plantings. The location is deliberately chosen so as to minimize the effect the project will have on these structure during its development. The project will have a form, scale, height, style, and décor reflecting the theme of the existing building for uniformity. The materials to be used in the project development will be of high-quality standards with a neutral blend with the existing establishments. The proposal has the capacity to enhance. The proposal has the potential to further improve cultural heritage considerations for the local school community. The longevity that the school enjoys the leverage an evolution through this project in the spirit of its ling established purpose.
Factor that can impact on heritage significance
The project seeks to demolish component 1, which is a historic building constructed back in 1903. Although the building is a listed item, it has been heavily modified that even its size has decreased. It is no longer held in high esteem as it used to before the alterations took place. We recommend that the project be designed in a manner that retains its past significance as the original object on site (Mora and Sale 2011).This can be done through inscribing a mark in the new pavement as well as retaining a corner in the building as a garden space or a memorial notation for the pioneer teachers of the school.
The construction of component 2 does not pose any threat to the public or surrounding heritage items. On the contrary, it seeks to address the ongoing sustainability of contemporary schools, which require among others:
- Modern open-air learning space to accommodate the ever-increasing enrolment.
- Upgraded outdoor shaded learning areas.
- Multi-functional, arts and library facility.
- Modern Information Technology facility (computer rooms).
- Developed access points, integration and safely built elements on the site
- Security and supervision of the site.
Thus, the proposal is well-placed to contribute significantly to the use of the property as a fundamental component in the cultural heritage of this suburb.
The NSW Heritage Manual ‘Statements of Heritage Impact’ guideline questions
This report is based on the site inspection and plans in relation to the project. Considering the existing components, the report determines as follow:
The new building is to be constructed outside the view lines of the heritage area.
The additional sections on component 2 will be constructed at a distance from the back of the public domain, which highlights the major heritage elements. It will have a limited visual corridor from Tranmere Street. Component B will also be shielded by other elements on the site. The location is meant to avoid a situation where the building dominates the existing heritage elements, and to allow easy view of the heritage items. The questions to be answered in this pursuant to NSW Heritage Branch Guidelines are tabulated as below (Mora and Sale 2011).
This report is as of a huge effort from various concerned parties. The parties views were sought include the local community, the Council through its Local Environmental Plan 2008 and the relevant Development Control Plans. It was evaluated according to the guidelines and questions of the Heritage Branch of the NSW Department of Planning. During the site visit, we discovered that there is a strong connection between the catholic school and its neighboring public school.
The historic classroom component has some social as well as historical significance. However, its demolition is in the best interest of its educational and cultural values. More importantly, the project poses insignificant threat to the existing heritage items or conservation area. Their general ambiences, which include palm planting, enhance its significance to listed heritage items. The project will also support the educational purpose of the site, which has been established over a long period.
- The proposed mitigation measures in the report should be implemented so as to reduce the impact of demolition of component 1on the listed heritage items
- The demolition of component 1 should be conducted prior to the development of component 2. Once the demolition is started, the entire Master Plan and Landscape should be executed.
- Conservation, re-use, and redevelopment of the Catholic school should be supervised by the LGA to ensure that it complies and delivers the Master Plan.
In the light of the above findings, and considering the heritage items we recommend the proposed development to the consent authority for approval.
Soutullo, A. 2010. Extent of the Global Network of Terrestrial Protected Areas. Conservation
Biology 24(2), 362-363.
Mora, C., and Sale, P. 2011. Ongoing Global Biodiversity Loss and the Need to move beyond
Protected Areas: A review of the Technical and Practical Shortcoming of Protected Areas on Land and Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 434, 251–266.

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