VIEWS: 17 PAGES: 10 POSTED ON: 2/3/2010
Page: 1 Transcript Station: 2GB Date: 04/01/2007 Program: RAY HADLEY MORNING Time: 11:12 AM SHOW Compere: CHRIS SMITH Summary ID: S00024802776 Item: DISCUSSION ON HOW A FAMILY'S PLAN TO DEVELOP A ROW OF TERRACES IN CAMPERDOWN HAVE BEEN HAMPERED BY THE SYDNEY CITY COUNCIL'S HERITAGE RULES. INTERVIEW WITH: GARY GREEN, COUNCILLOR, ROCKDALE CITY COUNCIL Demographics: Male 16+ Female 16+ All people ABs GBs 40000 48000 89000 7000 43000 CHRIS SMITH: Well yesterday, we spoke about the release of the annual report card on how ineffectual many of our councils are. It showed that most of them are still plagued by excessive delays in processing development applications; a situation that's left many of you frustrated and fed up. But not quite as much as Brian and Carmel Green, whose battle with Sydney City Council and Clover Moore has reached boiling point. Now, their plans to develop a row of terraces that they bought in Camperdown 20 years ago, mind you, have been constantly stymied by the council's heritage rules. The couple is now so frustrated, they've lodged an application to demolish the houses and instead, erect the Australian flag in protest, which is a bit drastic. To tell us how the whole debacle has deteriorated, I've got the couple's son, Gary Green on the line. Page: 2 Now, Gary's a Rockdale councillor, so he knows all about development applications. And he says Sydney City Council is run by heritage fascists. Good morning, Gary. GARY GREEN: Good morning, Chris. How are you? CHRIS SMITH: Very well. Them's fighting words. GARY GREEN: They are fighting words, aren't they? I can tell you right now that it would be easier to negotiate with terrorists than deal with that council, because you can actually negotiate with terrorists. You can't really deal with these unreasonable people. CHRIS SMITH: Are they the worst of them? GARY GREEN: I believe so. I've come across a few in my day. I mean, I go on conferences and meet lots of different councillors and city workers and what have you. And yeah, there's very few people that have got a nice word to say about Clover and her cronies. But the story really is much worse than reported in the papers, Chris. The council originally wanted our family to bulldoze the terraces when we bought them back in 1986, for road widening. Then the council knocked my parents back several years ago when they tried to convert the houses into storage use. They wanted to do that because the houses were basically, oh, very close to unliveable because Page: 3 of the rising damp that's really infested them, which is common in older houses... CHRIS SMITH: Right. GARY GREEN: ... especially heritage items. CHRIS SMITH: What, these were built, what, 1880? GARY GREEN: 1890, something like that. CHRIS SMITH: 1890, yeah. GARY GREEN: We wanted to keep the front of them and basically build the back, but the council has just stymied us at every turn of the wheel. Council then knocked mum and dad back when we wanted to put some flats at the back of the properties, primarily due to vicinity controls, which stupidly require a huge separation between heritage items and non-heritage items. CHRIS SMITH: So you haven't bullishly tried to get a certain development up and running over these 20 years. You've actually deviated between concepts and given council three or four shots at this. GARY GREEN: Actually, we've submitted at great expense, four separate plans, have gone into council and all of them have met with, well refusal, basically; either official refusal or refusal in principle. This is how silly it is. We're in a three-storey zone with a four- Page: 4 storey building right beside us and a nine-storey building on the same block, but the council - Councillor McInerney and some of the head planners in there - have told us that two storeys is as high as we can build in a three-storey zone, with a 13-metre building right on our border. CHRIS SMITH: Well, that's not acceptable in other council areas. If you draw a line between the roof heights of other buildings in the area, that's where you should be allowed to build too. GARY GREEN: Well, that's common sense, Chris, but you know, common sense isn't very common and it's not very common at all in that City of Sydney Council. And there's another anomaly too. If you look at Scots Church on the corner of Margaret and York Street, that's a very good example of how you've been able to modify a heritage building to contemporary use. Now, you can build on top. The council let them build on top immediately above a heritage item, but they won't let people build behind or beside a heritage item. Now, it's just madness. It's a wonder Clover Moore and her cronies don't insist on heritage houses only having heritage cars parked in the driveway. CHRIS SMITH: [Laughs] Yeah. GARY GREEN: Yeah. Page: 5 CHRIS SMITH: And when it comes to heritage, it's got to be practical. Like, I can see what they're trying to get at here. They want you to leave those buildings in the shape they're in, but spend about $400,000 on each terrace to make them and bring them back to what they looked like in 1890. GARY GREEN: Oh, thank God, you're an economic rationalist. You can see that it's plainly not viable... CHRIS SMITH: Of course. GARY GREEN: ... to do that. CHRIS SMITH: For no-one. GARY GREEN: Well, for no-one, exactly. And this is where I predict, and I've predicted for a while actually, that the city will eventually degenerate. It'll fall into wreck and ruin and this has happened in other places. In fact, it happened before in New York. They introduced rent-controlled apartments for the returned services men and women coming back from World War Two. At the time, the politicians and local officials thought they were doing the right thing. But we now know that the whole suburbs... you know, whole suburbs were left to rot. And so, this is what may happen if you make development applications too hard to get and people Page: 6 will walk away. They'll go to Queensland. We're seeing that now. CHRIS SMITH: Of course they will. And in... on the subject of impracticalities, this would mean if you spend, you know, four to five hundred - and that's a conservative estimate when you're trying to remove damp from an entire two and three storey building - you could actually spend more on the property than their worth, than you'd sell them for and it becomes just a charity organisation. GARY GREEN: Thank you very much. And mum and dad who have worked very hard; people who know mum and dad, have been in business for many years, employed hundreds of people, contributed lots and lots of money in tax to this great country. Now they've reached retirement, dad's just about 70, mum's a little ill at the moment regrettably. And what do they get; they get meted out this unfair treatment. It's un-Australian, basically. CHRIS SMITH: But can I ask this. On that specific aspect of the debate, these heritage officers, when you put to them that practical monetary considerations need to be part of the decision-making process, how do they react? GARY GREEN: They don't care. There's zero consideration. It seems to be their opinion that we should basically repair and maintain these properties for the good of the community, but at 100 per cent of my parents' Page: 7 expense. And it's not just the fact that they're singling us out. They actually feel the same way. It's very similar to communism, really, when you think about it, expecting individuals to give up their property for other people. CHRIS SMITH: You can't go to the Land and Environment Court and… GARY GREEN: Well… CHRIS SMITH: …fix some reasonable ruling? GARY GREEN: This is actually a trigger for the Land and Environment Court. This is possibly a chance for the Land and Environment Court to make a decision on whether or not these are worthy of retention. But, see, the Productivity Commission has just come out with its… released its long awaited findings into heritage, and a 430 page report, hundreds of submissions they received. And basically what they've recommended was that property owners who can make a case for undue hardship or loss due to heritage listing should be able to appeal, to either have the listing removed or be fairly compensated if the listing is to stand. CHRIS SMITH: It's to laste. GARY GREEN: Yeah. Well, obviously if the owner's happy with the listing there's no need for appeals or compensation. Page: 8 But councils should satisfy themselves, basically, that a property really is of significant heritage value, that it's worthy of preservation through listing given the likely cost, and that any excessive costs arising will be borne by the public who benefit from the listing, not the hapless owners. CHRIS SMITH: Yeah, exactly. One quick thing before we let you go. Is it true that three months ago your parents erected a billboard on one of the properties that read, help stop City of Sydney Council's heritage theft. And then they came and wanted to fine your or something for not lodging a DA for the advertising structure? GARY GREEN: This is just another one of the games that Clover's cronies have been playing with my family. We've had a sign up on that wall for over 40 years. We've got stat decs attesting to it. There's been a sign up there… Geoff K Gray used to advertise on the wall. There's always been virtually a billboard up there. And the second we protest, well guess what, the full weight of the law. We were threatened with a $1.1 million fine. CHRIS SMITH: So much for freedom of speech. GARY GREEN: Forget freedom of speech. Or a hundred thou… basically a $100,000 every day that the sign stayed up. Page: 9 So I'd fight the buggers but unfortunately, given my parents' condition, we just… we've had it. We can't take any more pain. That's Moore spelt M-O-O-R [sic]. We've had it. In fact, I'd like to make an impassioned plea to Minister Sartor to intervene here, and basically put a stop to this heritage madness of the city. CHRIS SMITH: Have your personally been in contact with him? GARY GREEN: I've tried to reach him. He's a very busy man, and he hasn't been able to sit down with me for 10 minutes. But I could really tell him a thing or two about that council if he'd give me 10 minutes. CHRIS SMITH: Well, it's quite a high profile issue and story today. I'm sure if you picked up the telephone this afternoon, his staff would talk to you. GARY GREEN: I think I'll be giving them a call, Chris. CHRIS SMITH: Let us know how you go. GARY GREEN: Will do. CHRIS SMITH: Good. Page: 10 GARY GREEN: Thank you very much. CHRIS SMITH: Thank you Gary. Appreciate that. GARY GREEN: Okay, bye bye. CHRIS SMITH: Gary Green, son of the two people, Brian and Carmel Green, that have had this absolute war, this heritage war with Sydney City Council. And, look, Gary says it's the worst council. But it's not the only council obsessed with heritage rules. Maybe you've had a similar experience. I bet you can't beat Gary's. But maybe you could go close. * * END * * TRANSCRIPT PRODUCED BY MEDIA MONITORS target-monitor-analyse ADELAIDE BRISBANE CANBERRA HOBART MELBOURNE PERTH SYDNEY 08 8362 2323 07 3259 2100 02 6124 5200 03 6224 2000 03 9348 9191 08 9228 5800 02 9318 4000 AGENCY REPORT For private research and not to be disseminated. Every effort made to ensure accuracy for the benefit of our clients but no legal responsibility is taken for errors or omissions. (*) - Indicates unknown spelling or phonetic spelling. Metro TV demographics are supplied by OzTAM, Radio and Non-Metro TV demographics are supplied by Nielsen Media Research. ABs = Managers, administrators, professions. GBs = Grocery buyers.
Pages to are hidden for
"Media Monitors Transcript_17_"Please download to view full document