By KATELYN MILLIGAN
A wealthy couple has bought one of Forest Lodge’s oldest homes, saving it from re-development.
It is believed that the new owners of the $4.62 million home intend to restore the Victorian Regency structure for use as a private home. This comes as a relief to the inner-city community after previous attempts have been made to subdivide and include additional structures to the site, diminishing its historic value.
Built in 1859, the house is over 160 years old, and one of the oldest in Forest Lodge. Heritage houses, such as the one on Hereford Street, are considered an important community asset, with their rich local history providing a positive contribution to the character of the surrounding region.
Protecting the past
Since 2018, the City of Sydney Council has rejected two development applications for the home, as the plans did not ‘adequately conserve the existing heritage-listed dwelling’ or reflect ‘the existing or desired future character of the subject locality’ and were ‘inconsistent with the desired development for Forest Lodge’.
Selling agent for the property Ben Southwell understands the previous rejections for subdivision and redevelopment deterred developers from buying the property.
“I had no developers looking at it,” Southwell told City Hub.
“It had been tried and tested previously to subdivide the land and the Council will just never approve to subdivide the land bank. They allowed the previous owner to subdivide the front of it off about 20 years earlier, in which under with a lot of records in Council, they regret the decision.”
Protecting the heritage of Victorian buildings is a priority for many members of the local community, and is an aspect of historic significance that the City of Sydney aims to upkeep for its constituents.
“The City values our heritage precincts and properties, which have a special character that reminds us of our architectural history and the way the city has changed over time,” a City of Sydney spokesperson told City Hub.
“Heritage is maintained through our planning controls, which have protections in place for certain development.”
This cultural heritage was a key attraction for buyers.
“People buying over here are wanting to buy something with some old nostalgia to it … but to have something that was built coming out of the colonial period and then in the very early days of the Victorian era, they’re not very readily available … and to have so much of the original structures still intact … that was the attraction”, Southwell said.
It is now hoped that the integrity of one of Forest Lodge’s oldest dwellings will be preserved and respected indefinitely.