The value of a heritage professional

A few months ago, Hector Abrahams Architects were approached by a client who had found a wonderful building that she wanted to purchase and convert into her home. An abandoned flour mill, dating from 1871, located in a small country town in the NSW Southern Tablelands, the problem was that this building, which had been sitting unoccupied for many years, was not zoned for residential use; it had been on the market for about 3 years, and the local authority had advised previous prospective buyers that it couldn’t be lived in.

The mill was, however, a locally listed heritage item. With his knowledge and understanding of heritage listings, Hector knew that heritage items have a permanent concession to be granted a non-compliant use if it can be demonstrated that the new use met heritage objectives. Seeking this concession is not straight forward, and applications need to show that the proposal meets high level strategic objectives. After meeting with the local council, Hector Abrahams Architects helped our client submit a development application which included a change of use into a residence. This week a delighted client was advised by council that the application had been approved – with no objections.

The value of engaging a heritage expert who was able to achieve her desired outcome more than compensated the cost for our client. Without Hector’s assistance, she too, like previous parties, would have given up the possibility of living in the mill. And the outcome also benefits the building and the community; the mill will now be cared for and maintained by a committed owner.