Great Win for Heritage in Cessnock

Media Release  16.8.12

Great Win for Heritage in Cessnock

Cessnock Council last night voted to save one its historic hotels from being removed from the heritage register.

Cessnock Greens Councillor James Ryan moved to overturn a motion from the previous meeting which had sent shockwaves through the community.

The Chelmsford Hotel in Kurri Kurri has been described by one author and historian as special in itself but the collection (of Hotels) is a National Treasure and a heritage resource which should be safeguarded and preserved wherever possible.’

Residents and historians had reacted with outrage after a narrow majority of Councillors had moved without notice on 1st August  to remove the hotel’s heritage status.

The hotels’ owner had told some Councillors that the roof had been damaged in a storm some 2 1/2 years ago and it was too expensive to repair as a heritage item. The owner had not requested Council permission to repair the roof.

After learning of the initial vote to remove the heritage listing another local historian wrote to all Councillors saying

  ‘The history and heritage community of the Hunter are appalled that such a suggestion could even be contemplated and given approval by local councillors.’

Residents had been worried that removing heritage protection from the hotel would set a dangerous precedent which would result in the heritage protection being removed from all of the iconic hotels in the Coalfields.

‘This is a victory for the community of Cessnock, and especially for those people who contacted their Councillors and convinced them to change their minds.’ said Clr Ryan  ‘We can breath easier now knowing these landmark hotels are safe for the time being.’

This is why we have local Councils and Councillors, so the local community can have a say in decisions. All those who voiced their opinion to the Councillors should take a bow for having helped save some of our most  inspiring local heritage.’

‘It became apparent that Councillors had acted in haste with incorrect information at the previous meeting.’ said Clr Ryan.

‘There were claims that the Hotel did not have heritage value and that  the removal of heritage status was ‘temporary’. Those clearly were not the case.’ said Clr Ryan.

The vote to retain the Hotels heritage status was 6 for and and 5 against.

James Ryan

0414 922 591

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