Homeowners wrestle with heritage demands

Georgie Cameron and her son James. Photo by Julius Dennis.
HOMEOWNERS: Kristina Psinas, James Willis and Julius Dennis report on the agony and ectasy of heritage overlays.

It came down to centimetres between palings in a picket fence.

“We applied for a new fence to be higher and with smaller spaces but encountered issues with the council due to the house being within a heritage overlay,” said Hawthorn resident Georgie Cameron.

Ms Cameron said she wanted three-centimetre spaces between the pickets of her fence, but the council insisted on four.

Homeowners wrestle with heritage demands


Built in 1888, Ms Cameron says her Grove Road house has a strong Victorian aesthetic allowing it to fit in with the surrounding heritage houses and add to the character of the street.

Ms Cameron said that despite her frustration over the fence, she believed in the importance of heritage protection.

Grove Road resident Malcolm Faul noted that some nearby houses had been demolished.  

Another resident, declining to be named, said the recent demolition of a 1930s duplex was a shame. “If someone put a concrete block next to us it would look ridiculous”, she said.

Real estate agent Tim Penhalluriack, director of Noel Jones Balwyn,  said heritage overlays provided a “good opportunity for local buyers to pick up good houses at reasonable prices”.

Mr Penhalluriack said that having a heritage-protected home gave homeowners security that the properties surrounding theirs wouldn’t be developed into eyesores.

 However, Tori McGregor from Marshall White Real Estate said that heritage and heritage overlays could be a hindrance.

 “It becomes an issue when the home is in a developing area because the homebuyer sees other houses are newer and nicer and then wants to change their house,” she said.

Another agent, Randeep Singh Virdi, director at 1st Property Real Estate, said that constraints on what can be done with the property caused some anxiety and though preservation was important, it could be “impractical” for homebuyers looking to make changes.