THE West Tamworth train station has been saved from the bulldozers, for now, after councillors unanimously opposed a plan to tear down the site.
Glenn Inglis railed against the development application to demolish the 140-year-old station, which he said had been actively and willfully neglected over an extended period.
The report considered by councillors said it could cost up to $600,000 to restore the station to its former glory.
However, Cr Inglis said cost shouldn’t be the principal justification for tearing down the station.
“If the active and wilful neglect of buildings over an extended period becomes the new justification for demolition that's, hmmm ... interesting," Cr Inglis said.
He suggested the the will to save the station might have been left too late.
"Maybe I've got some responsibility as a councillor because I haven't been banging the drum.”
The council report which recommended green-lighting demolition said there was a “lack of interest by local community groups in potential future adaptive reuse of the station building”, a claim Cr Inglis refuted.
"It's been demonstrated through a number of submissions there is a clear public interest," he said.
Mark Rodda backed-up Cr Inglis’ claim and said he’d received emails from people around the state about the disused station.
He called on the councillors to avoid repeating past instances where heritage buildings were lost.
A 140 year old building owned by the people of NSW and indeed the Tamworth community deserves the opportunity to live for quite a few more years. It obviously needs funds for restoration and ongoing maintenance. @AndrewConstance#nswpolpic.twitter.com/UfOytbTXtY— Mark Rodda (@markrodda) 13 February 2018
“Here is an opportunity to preserve something that’s 140-years-old,” he said.
“Fifty-years-older than what the Capitol Theater was when it was demolished.
“I implore councillors to reject and vote against this motion.”
Juanita Wilson said the heritage working group opposed the demolition argued “most old buildings are building with a reuse”.
She suggested blocking demolition was a chance to grow the city’s heritage value for future generations.
“If you travel in Europe, you marvel at the 300, 400 and 500-year-old buildings,” she said.
“The only reason they’re that old is because they haven’t been knocked-down at 140-years-old.”
While the motion was lost unanimously, mayor Col Murray aired concerns about the rejected demolition.
“I do have concerns when we make a decision to protect the community that the cost doesn’t just reside with council,” Cr Murray said.
“There’s already lots of demand on council’s limited funds.
“This is a whole of community issue.”
More to come.