We had another great turnout at our last General Meeting on 22 August, where we heard from an excellent panel which included the President of SA Institute of Architects Associate Professor Tony Giannone, the CEO of the National Trust Dr Darren Peacock, Ms Melissa Ballantyne of the Environment Defenders Office and Mr Paul Leadbetter from the University of Adelaide.
They each gave their own perspective of what issues to look out for in the new Planning and Design Code (PDC) which will be out for consultation next month. Tony Giannone stressed the importance of good design and quality architecture for our state and called for an independent Heritage Commissioner. He foreshadows further uncertainty in the PDC due to subjectivity of overlays instead of listings. He shared his concerns for the privatisation of state heritage assets and loss of open space, noting that buildings have a heart and soul, and are here for generations while governments come and go.
Paul Leadbetter explained the legal issues of the new Code and explained the current layers of heritage protection. He explained the importance of Contributory Items and whey there are at risk due to the dismantling of local council development plans when the new Code comes into effect.
Melissa Ballantyne explained in more detail the proposed new policy changes in the Code, and this information will be invaluable when it comes out for consultation. Darren Peacock gave an update on the campaign to protect our heritage and explained why 40 years of heritage protection is now at risk. He provided evidence of the economic benefits of heritage protection and how its protection is an opportunity not a problem if done in a thoughtful and careful way.
Later in the meeting we welcomed the Adelaide Parklands Preservation Society as a new member group, along with other new associations who were welcomed at our last general meeting including the resident groups of Lights View, Colonel Light Gardens, Kent Town and St Peters.
Your President Christel Mex and Secretary Tom Matthews reported back on their meeting with Planning Minister Stephan Knoll which was held on 20 June. The Minister listened to our concerns regarding the policy position papers that the Government released on heritage and character. We were fortunate to have Sandy Wilkinson and Elizbeth Vines accompany us at the meeting to share their information on opportunities to protect heritage within urban infill, and the importance of streetscapes in Historic Conservation Zones that benefit from the protection of Contributory Items.
The Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, 21 November at 7pm at the Box Factory. The theme will be “Cracking the Code” and we will invite the Minister for Planning as well as other experts to help us all make a meaningful submission during the consultation period for the PDC. So don’t forget to hold this date in your diary!
In the meantime, keep those letters flowing to your local MP and the Minister for Planning. Don’t forget the excellent Heritage Campaign Kit that we developed for you, which includes an easy to use Letter Writing Guide.
More info on the current threats to heritage protection can also be found at the Heritage Watch website.
Here are two of the presentations for the General Meeting held on 22 August: