Heritage-listed home in path of progress


ONE of Coffs Harbour's few heritage-listed houses is slated for removal under Coffs Harbour City Council plans, even though the objectives of the same plan include preserving items of heritage significance.

And although the plan was introduced seven years ago, the family who have owned the house since the 1920s say they have never been contacted by the council.

They discovered council's plans for their house only recently, when they were exploring the council's website for information about a proposed four-storey, 55-unit development in their quiet street.

No 20 Korff Street is the home of Ian Veness and his 99-year-old father Bert Veness, whose wife,

Edna May, nee Brewis, was born in the house.

The creekside timber house has been in the Brewis and Veness family since the 1920s, but the structure of the house dates from the 19th century, making it one of the oldest homes in the city and a rare domestic heritage link with the city centre's early days.

A council spokeswoman said the house had been identified in the DCP as needing specific consideration, but any action would await a conservation plan, which would not occur until there was some suggestion of redevelopment.

But she said it was not at all unusual to move heritage buildings, as had been done in relocating an old Catholic church, later known as the Hood St Hall, from Hood Street to John Paul College.

Coffs Harbour City Council's High Density Housing Development Control Plan, for the Coffs Creek Precinct, proposes to relocate No 20 Korff Street to make way for a creekside pedestrian walkway through parkland, linking the northern end of Moonee Street to the western end of Scarba Street.

The walkway will also provide walking access, via a bridge, to residents north of Coffs Creek.

The relocation and subsequent use of the Veness house 'for community purposes', while it is the council's preferred option in the Coffs Creek Concept Plan within the DCP, is subject to the findings of a conservation plan.

"The DCP does not blend with this style of residence," Ian Veness said, "so council have a problem in how to deal with it.

"This property is heritage listed under the council and State Governments and I was not aware this (relocation) could be done.

"Korff Street is one of the oldest streets in Coffs Harbour. It was named after Captain John Korff, who discovered Coffs Harbour and there is a lot of history in the street itself, not just in some of the the houses as well, but in the people who live here."

He said most residents were retired and many were local identities and members of pioneer families.

Mr Veness said he was anxious to see council ensured the best available design for the new development in his street.

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