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Turner not heritage listed

By Barcham 31 July 2013 36

The Turner Residents Association were hoping to get a selection of housing blocks in Turner to be added to the ACT Heritage Register, but were shot down by ACT Heritage Council and its chairman Duncan Marshall reports ABC News.

“There’s been a lot of change,” he said.

“Particularly in one of the sections where a lot of the houses have been redeveloped so it’s lost that integrity.

“The council decided that were many better and earlier examples of garden city planning in Canberra.”

The motivation behind getting Turner on the Heritage Register may be less about preserving history and more about some Turner residents not wanting apartments built in their area.

A spokeswoman for the Turner Residents Association, Nicola Watson says that they’ll be launching an appeal.

“We feel that the streets and the surrounding area are now being completely overdeveloped, there’s just endless apartments,” she said.

“We felt that this was a particularly beautiful area and that needed to be preserved for families and future generations.

“I get the feeling that in some ways this is a political decision.

“There’s a lot of pressure at the moment from developers to go ahead with developments, pressure on the Government, pressure on the Heritage Council perhaps.”

Marshall denies that this was a political decision, and claims that even if the suburb were heritage listed that would not mean a blanket ban on development.

Any Rioters live in Turner? Do you think any of the blocks there need to be heritage listed, or is this just another case of Nimby-ism?

What’s Your opinion?


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Turner not heritage listed
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indi2 9:14 am 02 Aug 13

thanks for that link – very interesting!

aussielyn 4:33 pm 01 Aug 13

The Turner Residents Association does have the right to nominate the precinct Sections 47 to 50 for Heritage listing. Going by the photos of their streetscape, I can understand them wanting to preserve what they can. For more info please see: http://www.environment.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/268591/Turner_Housing_Precinct_-_Background_Informationupd.pdf

Heritage listing of a precinct does not preclude modernization & even demolition as is happening in Blandfordia 4 & 5. Changes are coming that may include call in powers. New developments, in older suburbs, must be sympathetic and complimentary to what is already in the street otherwise it is chalk & cheese.

A_Cog is calling for a scorched earth policy so nothing is left of the past. I bet he loves those new steel lampposts over the old cement ones that were manufactured in Eastlake. The Canberra reds are an endangered species.

chilli 2:57 pm 01 Aug 13

chilli said :

It’s worth noting that financial self interest is not the only kind of self interest.

You can argue a point that will disadvantage you financially and still be doing it for selfish reasons.

The reason nimbys are considered selfish is because that’s what the term means. These are people who don’t want something built around their house just because they don’t want it there.

If they are arguing for genuine altruistic reasons then they are not actually nimbys.

Of course they’ll still be called nimbys because people are always quick to try and discredit each others opinions with name calling. (see: hipster, hippy, white knight, whinger, a million other terms that dismiss someone’s argument by dismissing them)

So the question remains, is there good cause to heritage list these areas or is it just the case of some home owners not wanting to share their streets with some houses they find ugly?

Personally I also am not a huge fan of apartment blocks taking over the inner North, but I’ll admit it’s not out of any noble dedication to preserving history.

It’s just because I don’t like them, and really what I like probably shouldn’t be taken into opinion when planning suburbs otherwise Canberra will become a city off of arcades, Chinese restaurants, and not much else .

Thanks for the thoughtful reply Barcham.

And there’s nothing wrong with arcades and Chinese restaurants.

c_c™ 2:42 pm 01 Aug 13

Thank goodness Turner isn’t being heritage listed. Who remembers the deplorable brown brick building on the corner of Northbourne where ‘The Avenue’ now is?

Drive through Turner and the new buildings look amazing. What lets it down is the old ones – the fibros and asbestos-brick (yes, some of that brick-cladding is really compacted asbestos and paper they bragged about in the 60s) shacks many of which are in a poor state of repair. Even worse, the guvvie medium density that are a constant hub for trouble.

Heritage should be practical, not ideological.

chilli 2:34 pm 01 Aug 13

johnboy said :

Firstly I can literally throw a rock from my front door into Turner.

Secondly how can you say there’s both oversupply and shortage?

Thirdly I’d rather see apartments housing people choosing that lifestyle than the monstrous rebuilds currently blighting Turner.

1) Thanks. I’ll wave to you next time I walk past an O’Connor house with a small pile of rocks outside.

2 &3) I think Indi2 means an oversupply of one bedroom apartments and a shortage of pretty much anything else, including affordable housing for families in the area.

There’s nothing wrong with one bedroom apartments but the market in Turner (and Braddon, increasingly) seems largely about an endless supply of them. Probably because they are the most attractive to investors (and most of these apartments are rented out, not owner occupied). Again, perfectly fine, and serves the needs of well-off young singles who want to live close to the city. And older singles still able to cope with stairs (not many of these blocks have lifts). But often this size apartment doesn’t suit people for very long. It’s not adaptable for changing needs. So they move on to rent or buy elsewhere. All perfectly normal. But when you have a large proportion of a community’s population essentially transient, it makes it difficult to sustain a community.

How large a proportion? ABS stats from 2006 showed that in Turner, apartments made up around 70% of all dwellings (vs 14% in Australia overall). Almost 60% of dwellings were rented (25% of these were public housing), vs 27% in Australia as a whole. Given the development in Turner since that time, I’d guess the proportions are even higher now.

Personally, I’ve really enjoyed alot of the aspects of change since redevelopment started. There are lots of people around, many of them young, and makes the area feel more vibrant. Local shops and the Londsdale/Mort St commercial developments are only able to happen because of a greater population density. Some of the apartment complexes are really attractive – certainly more attractive than what they replaced.

The argument about heritage listing this small part of Turner isn’t about stopping any of that, or preventing further development. It’s about ensuring a limited area of uniquely Canberran streetscape is respected and preserved. It’s not even about ‘saving’ the houses there, but making sure that any development that does replace those houses still embodies some of the original character of the area, and occupies the block in congruence with the existing houses (eg similar set back from the street, front landscaping).

RE the simultaneous shortage of housing and people being able to choose the apartment lifestyle- there’s not much in the way of 3 bedroom townhouses or apartments for families who have kids and – like alot of the singles and couples who live in apartments – appreciate the convenience of being able to walk to school and work. But of the 45 dwellings for sale in Turner on allhomes today, there are only two that are 3-bedroom and one that is 4-bedroom. None are apartments or townhouses. Only 8 of the 78 dwellings for rent in Turner on allhomes have 3 or more bedrooms.

Maybe this is the right balance – who knows – but currently every time an old 3 bedroom Turner cottage gets knocked down, 7 or 8 (or more) one bedroom apartments replace it. In the area of Turner where there is no multi storey redevelopment, houses suitable for families are exorbitantly expensive. So why not try for more of a mix of housing types within new developments so that a wider demographic gets to enjoy living close to the city?

A_Cog 1:18 pm 01 Aug 13

Heritage listing is about preserving a building for the entire community – all ACT residents, current and future – not just the few dozen people who live in a particular street.

But NIMBY groups have been abusing heritage and submitting applications for heritage listing, in an attempt to freeze the suburb how they want it to stay, and have their views trump the needs of the community – current and future.

Infill is necessary and natural, and cynically abusing heritage applications in an attempt to override growth is bang out of line.

indi2 12:44 pm 01 Aug 13

1. I didn’t say there was a shortage
2. Why do residents not have the right to say how they want to live? They have every right to have a say in their community too.
3. If (as in this case) every person on the street (with the exception of a developer who is building their own new house in a lovely street devoid of apartments) does not want a particular development, including 2 couples who have lived in the street for over 50 years, why do the rights of the developer usurp those of every other resident?
4. Its about having a range of housing choices for everyone.
5. I agree its about people choosing to live in apartments, which is fine, I also have lived in and enjoyed apartments. The people who have to live next to a large, noisy, poor quality development however are the ones who are having their choice taken away from them.

dtc 12:44 pm 01 Aug 13

Its interesting that people who want to preserve the current look are NIMBYs, but people who want to build purely for the purpose of making profit (none of them are trying to create landmark buildings) are, apparently the good guys. Clearly both sides have self interest at heart.

Turner has always been too expensive for most families. The apartments are not designed as cheap places for families to live, they are designed for childless people to live. If you want a house, you can get one for the same price as a Turner apartment not too far away in Belconnen.

Having lived in one of the houses in the section under discussion, I can tell you that it had rivers of condensation running down the interior concrete walls for most of winter. Probably central heating would have cured that, i guess.

Jim Jones 12:44 pm 01 Aug 13

indi2 said :

Johnboy you are missing the point. This is not an argument about homelessness or not. Over 80% of the listings on ALL Homes in Turner are for apartments or (in far smaller numbers) townhouses. And there are vast numbers of them. Children wanting to go to Turner school are now forced to commute long distances to go to school because most parents do not want to be stuffed into small apartments with kids. Thus increasing traffic, emissions etc. There is ALREADY an oversupply of apartments in Turner. Every “developed” street in Turner has apartments for sale or rent, constantly. It is about having some sort of idea of what this city should look like in the future, and about not destroying all of the beauty and vision (W.B.G) that has already gone into it. We need real planning and accountability not indiscriminate development for short-term gain.

I’m confused.

Chilldren who want to go to Turner schools have to commute long distances? Why don’t they go to a nearby school instead? There are plenty of suburban school in … you know … the suburbs.

I’d assume that if you didn’t want to live with kids in an apartment or townhouse, then you’d have the basic nous not to live right in the city, where higher density accommodation is necessary.

Also, Walter Burley Griffin isn’t a saint whose ‘vision’ we have to treat like scripture. He’s just an architect who died almost a century ago.

    johnboy 12:50 pm 01 Aug 13

    (And say it softly but the WBG designs look a lot like apartment blocks to me)

poetix 12:32 pm 01 Aug 13

There is no reason why more infill housing (dual occupancy and so on) shouldn’t be allowed. There are some large blocks in the area and a second dwelling could easily be built, or even a third. Smaller dwellings over a couple of blocks can accommodate more people without totally changing the area.

I find it odd that only blocks over 800 metres (I think) can be developed in that way.

As to families in flats, though, there is no reason a small family couldn’t live in a two bedroom flat, especially with all the parks in the area, and the proximity to Civic, schools, etc. Just so long as they can have a pet.

I hate the blocky mansions being built more than smaller developments of townhouses.

johnboy 12:30 pm 01 Aug 13

Firstly I can literally throw a rock from my front door into Turner.

Secondly how can you say there’s both oversupply and shortage?

Thirdly I’d rather see apartments housing people choosing that lifestyle than the monstrous rebuilds currently blighting Turner.

indi2 12:20 pm 01 Aug 13

Johnboy you are missing the point. This is not an argument about homelessness or not. Over 80% of the listings on ALL Homes in Turner are for apartments or (in far smaller numbers) townhouses. And there are vast numbers of them. Children wanting to go to Turner school are now forced to commute long distances to go to school because most parents do not want to be stuffed into small apartments with kids. Thus increasing traffic, emissions etc. There is ALREADY an oversupply of apartments in Turner. Every “developed” street in Turner has apartments for sale or rent, constantly. It is about having some sort of idea of what this city should look like in the future, and about not destroying all of the beauty and vision (W.B.G) that has already gone into it. We need real planning and accountability not indiscriminate development for short-term gain.

Barcham 11:09 am 01 Aug 13

chilli said :

Dunno Barcham; one person’s brave fight to preserve his house against crushing government and commercial forces is another person’s NIMBY ratbag.

I think it’s interesting though that so-called NIMBY’s are derided as ‘selfish’. If your land is rezoned as for redevelopment then you stand to make a lot of money. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for people to oppose it – in fact, it seems they are arguing against their own self interest when they oppose it. If they were really ‘selfish’ they would be arguing for 26 stories to be allowed on their block and to hell with anyone else’s views or access or amenity.

But instead they are arguing against their own financial self interest and, in this case in Turner anyway, for a really lovely area that’s full of young families to be preserved because it’s uniquely Canberran in it’s aesthetics and represents a very significant period of Canberra’s history and development.

It’s worth noting that financial self interest is not the only kind of self interest.

You can argue a point that will disadvantage you financially and still be doing it for selfish reasons.

The reason nimbys are considered selfish is because that’s what the term means. These are people who don’t want something built around their house just because they don’t want it there.

If they are arguing for genuine altruistic reasons then they are not actually nimbys.

Of course they’ll still be called nimbys because people are always quick to try and discredit each others opinions with name calling. (see: hipster, hippy, white knight, whinger, a million other terms that dismiss someone’s argument by dismissing them)

So the question remains, is there good cause to heritage list these areas or is it just the case of some home owners not wanting to share their streets with some houses they find ugly?

Personally I also am not a huge fan of apartment blocks taking over the inner North, but I’ll admit it’s not out of any noble dedication to preserving history.

It’s just because I don’t like them, and really what I like probably shouldn’t be taken into opinion when planning suburbs otherwise Canberra will become a city off of arcades, Chinese restaurants, and not much else .

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