In June we were disappointed to learn that an 1892 police residence in Dartmoor in south-western Victoria was moved to a location more than 100km away without a permit, despite having been protected by a Heritage Overlay.
Victoria Police submitted a retrospective permit application for the removal of the building, which states that they were unaware that there was a Heritage Overlay over the property, and cites the building’s poor condition as the reason for the relocation. Objections were submitted by both the National Trust, and the National Trust’s Portland Branch, and the permit application was refused by Glenelg Shire Council in August.
We have encouraged Council to pursue enforcement action, and understand that discussions are underway between Council, community members and Victoria Police, regarding the restoration and interpretation of the remaining lock-up and stables on the site.
The National Trust has also written to the Minister for Police, Lisa Neville, calling on the Department to undertake an audit of its heritage assets, and ensure that appropriate processes for the conservation and management of heritage places are put in place, as well as the provision of training for officers with asset management responsibilities.
This is not the first time that Glenelg Shire Council has had to respond to the demolition of cultural heritage in the region, with a historic bluestone wall in front of the Richmond Henty Hotel Motel demolished in December 2015 under a VicSmart permit, despite being referred to in the schedule to the Heritage Overlay. The demolition was appealed by the Portland Historic Building Restoration Committee, and VCAT Deputy President found that Council had acted beyond its powers in issuing the permit.
Image: ABC South West Victoria, Matt Neal