Maitland Heritage Guardians founder Chris Richards' quest to save the region's heritage continues - this time his sights firmly set on a $31million proposal for historic Closebourne House at Morpeth.
An application that is before Maitland City Council proposes major structural works to the property and the addition of buildings at the rear of the dwelling.
Closebourne House, now an aged care facility, is heritage listed as an item of State significance.
The Closebourne issue comes days after Maitland Mayor Loretta Baker outlined in a Letter to the Editor why council recently approved the demolition of a slab cottage on Duckenfield Road, Morpeth.
Cr Baker said rectification works to make the building habitable would be extensive and would also require replacement of a high percentage of the building to the detriment of any heritage contribution.
"It is totally unreasonable to expect an individual property owner to invest the significant amount of money required to make this building habitable when the final heritage outcome is compromised by the rebuild," she said.
Mr Richards said Closebourne House, a fine example of early Colonial Rural Architecture, was built in the 1820's.
"The proposal is for major internal works including the removal of walls, installation of lifts, widening doorways, removing original doors and much of the original internal fabric. There are also recommendations for external changes," he said.
"The building has no major adjoining buildings attached to it affecting its curtilage.
"Should these plans be approved the heritage significance of Closebourne and its surrounding curtilage would be compromised.
"This application is a shocking example of developers forcing their vision of what heritage should look like, and suggesting to the community, council, National Trust and Heritage Office that they are doing the community a favour," Mr Richards said.
The development application was recently placed on public exhibition and will be decided by the Joint Regional Planning Panel at a later date.
In other heritage news, Mr Richards said there had been a reprieve on an application to demolish Pomfrett's slab cottage at Woodville after Port Stephens Council deferred its demolition.