Heritage listing puts buyers off

THE WA Portuguese Club want its clubhouse taken off Fremantle council’s heritage list so its land is more attractive to developers.

The club is doing it tough and is looking to punt its 8000sqm Beaconsfield  site to pay for a new club in another location. The hilltop site on Strang Street boasts stunning ocean views and estimated to be worth around $8 million.

But nestled within a bunch of dowdy 1970s additions is a heritage jewel – an intact 1890s farmhouse which was once reputedly the home of Hamilton Hill pioneer James Healy.

Club officials says the heritage listing is putting off potential buyers, who would have to preserve the Federation Queen Anne house.

“Some investors have approached us, but unfortunately see the heritage portion of the building as a hindrance to any development,” wrote PC president Joao dos Santos.

Real value

Mr dos Santos says that’s resulted in offers well below the land’s real value.

“…The building in question has been significantly modified over the years, to suit our club’s need and little remains of its original form, which would justify its preservation.”

But city officers reckon it would be “comparatively straightforward” to remove the club’s 1970s additions, including a dance floor and patio, and incorporate the house into a new development.

The house includes a prominent belvedere tower.

“Demolition of the existing building on site would require development approval irrespective of whether or not the property was heritage listed,” wrote officers.

Officers recommended refusing the club’s request, but working with it to incorporate the house into any new development.

The item will come before full council for consideration later this month.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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