Council takes aim at city's heritage buildings

Demolition starts on the old Toowoomba gasworks site.
Demolition starts on the old Toowoomba gasworks site. Nev Madsen

TOOWOOMBA'S heritage buildings are under fire from the authority tasked to protect them and it appears too late for at least one to be saved.

Toowoomba Regional Council wants to remove 13 properties from its Heritage Places register, including the former Toowoomba Gasworks at the intersection of Neil St and Chalk Dr.

However, the buildings at that address were demolished more than two years ago.


Despite that, council is still seeking public submissions on the amendment to the planning scheme.

Cr Chris Tait stated the obvious when queried about the move to de-list the gasworks, saying the site "no longer contained any heritage value".

Many of the other properties to be de-listed are located in the Toowoomba CBD.

Council's handling of the city's heritage places has been conflicting in recent times.

Late last year, the CBD Heritage Incentives Scheme was introduced.

That provides grants for external works on heritage places that visually improve the appearance of buildings and their contribution in commercial centres.

Does Toowoomba Regional Council value the region's heritage buildings?

This poll ended on 12 May 2015.

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This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

However, council also paved the way for some of the inner-city's most historic buildings to be demolished when it approved a Bunnings warehouse at the site of the Toowoomba foundry.

The former Railway Hotel at the intersection of Ruthven and Bridge Sts, and the foundry's sawtooth shed - both heritage-listed buildings - will have to be removed.

While Bunnings must apply to council to demolish the buildings, the development's approval and impending demolition of heritage buildings have been slammed by Brisbane Heritage.

However, Cr Tait was adamant that Toowoomba Regional Council valued heritage places.

While 13 properties are set to be de-listed, four will be added.

"We take care in identifying heritage buildings to ensure the credibility of council's heritage scheme is maintained and remains relevant," Cr Tait said.

"That is why this review was undertaken by an independent, specialist heritage architect."

The heritage-listed Toowoomba Gasworks being demolished.
The heritage-listed Toowoomba Gasworks being demolished.

Cr Tait said the properties to be de-listed had been "significantly" altered over time and were no longer of "significant heritage value".

Heritage places, under Toowoomba Regional Council's planning scheme, must be retained unless they are "structurally unsound and uneconomically repairable".

Any changes made to a heritage place must be "minor or superficial, sympathetic to the values of the place and reversible".


The Heritage Places in Toowoomba to be de-listed include:

  •  28 Bell St
  •  2 Bowen St
  •  21 Bowen St
  •  151-153 Herries St
  •  208 Herries St
  •  177A-181 Margaret St
  •  183-187 Margaret St
  •  188 Margaret St
  •  267 Margaret St
  •  1A-3, 5 and 31 Neil St
  •  43A Russell St
  •  343-347 Ruthven St (including 1A Schofield St)
  •  461-467, 482-486 and 522-526 Ruthven St

To be added to the register:

  •  428-434 and 633 Ruthven St
  •  104C Neil St
  •  91 Mort St
  •  Part 154-156 James St

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