The future options of the council-owned land on which the Clarence Town Museum sits will be determined by independent consultants.
Dungog Shire Council agreed at its last meeting to engage consultants to prepare a Conservation Management Plan for the high profile Prince Street corner site.
A “suitably qualified independent consultant” will then conduct a public hearing and prepare a Public Hearing Report for Council’s consideration.
Council decided not to provide owners consent to any development application for the site until a Conservation Management Plan has been adopted.
In December 2015, Council resolved to reclassify the land to enable the ownership of the land to be transferred to the Clarence Town Progress Association.
Council resolved at its September 2016 meeting to reclassify the land from community land to operational land and the planning proposal was forwarded to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure and subsequently received a gateway determination which was placed on public exhibition.
The proposal was placed on public exhibition from 17 November 2016 to 20 January 2017 with five written submissions received.l. The issues raised in these public submissions will be considered in tandem with the independently prepared report on the Public Hearing to be addressed at a future council meeting.
As the Courthouse and site is listed in the State Heritage Register as State Significan,t the Planning Proposal was referred to the Heritage Council of NSW which recommended that a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) be prepared for the Courthouse and site to provide a guide to future care and use, including any new development.
The report to council said the cost for the preparation of a CMP is unknown, however could potentially range from $15,000 to $40,000. In addition to the CMP costs, Council would also need to budget for the Heritage Branch to review and endorse a CMP which is currently $2000 – $4000.
Council’s General Manager, Craig Deasey, said the public hearing could cost in the order of $10,000 but it was important that the process was done by experts with knowledge of the process.
“This is ensuring the facility is left in community hands,” he said.
“The hearing will give everybody an opportunity to know the constraints on the land.
“This is a prime local parcel of land and council acknowledges the heritage elements.
“There must be a way for the facility to fund its ongoing maintenance which at the moment it cannot.”
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