Tackling neglect

• Fremantle councillor Jon Strachan says the new laws in demo by neglect are good for Fremantle. Photo by Jeremy Dixon

• Fremantle councillor Jon Strachan says the new laws in demo by neglect are good for Fremantle. Photo by Jeremy Dixon

Fremantle city council now has the power to stop heritage buildings becoming “neglected to death”.

On Wednesday it voted unanimously to add two clauses to amendment 59, ensuring owners of heritage-listed buildings or areas don’t let them fall into disrepair. If the council notices a property is looking shabby it can issue the owner with a 60-day notice to improve the property. If the letter is ignored the council has the power to enter premises and conduct repairs and bill the owner.

Councillor Jon Strachan says the change will have practical benefits for Fremantle’s built heritage: “It is surprising how quickly a building can deteriorate if storm water is not managed adequately,” he said.

“A neglected building can become a derelict building in a very short space of time.

“If it works correctly owners will respond to the powers of amendment 59 before they have to be implemented.”

He says the amendment addresses shortcomings in WA’s heritage laws and is,”important to Fremantle because we have so many world class heritage buildings essential to our cultural and social heritage”.

Mayor Brad Pettitt says owning a heritage building, “comes with both rights and responsibilities”.

by BRENDAN FOSTER

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