National Trust objects to proposed demolition of historic Brighton house

In May we became aware that a historic house in Brighton, located at 38 Grosvenor Street, was under threat, with a permit application before Bayside Council (P5/2019/43) proposing the complete demolition of the house to be replaced with a pair of modern townhouses. In response, we prepared an objection requesting that Council refuse the planning permit and move to immediately apply an Interim Heritage Overlay. In our submission we outlined that the house is clearly of high local significance, enough to warrant an individual Heritage Overlay. Built in 1929-30, the house is an unusual example of the Old English style, one that is not well represented in places already covered by the Heritage Overlay. We believe the house has added significance in that it was designed by the female owner-builder Esme Johnson, and featured on the front cover of the Australian Home Beautiful in February 1931 (see below).

Heritage Victoria has also recently accepted a nomination for the place to be included on the Victorian Heritage Register. We now await the recommendation of the Executive Director on whether it reaches the threshold for inclusion in the Register.

To read our objection letter in full, click here.

To read more via Domain, click here.

38 Grosvenor Street, Brighton, Australian Home Beautiful, February 1931

38 Grosvenor Street, Brighton, 2019

Featured image courtesy of Tanner Property Management



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  1. 1
    Liz Mitchell

    Too many of these old gems are being replaced when there’s often no need. Like we see in many houses in the UK, remodelling and updating the interior to accommodate our more modern lifestyle makes for a gorgeous home, while leaving the exterior intact . Victoria especially seems to be behind when it comes to restoring and maintaining original buildings that cannot be replaced. Why do so many of us go to Europe and visit historical or old places, towns, buildings and houses – because there’s so little of that here in Australia. And we keep demolishing the little we have!

  2. 2
    Linda Hirsch

    If the home was so significant why didn’t the National Trust buy it when it was for sale? Is the National Trust going to pay for the ongoing maintenance of a home deemed to be well beyond its prime!! It’s easy to have a view when you don’t have to foot the bill!

  3. 3

    It is not an unusual example of the Old English style, but an interpretation by an eccentric fool who had no idea what she was doing – it is purely a Frankenstein house that adds zero to the collective.

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