THE news delivered from VCAT last week has left Murchison locals and renovators, Deb Bower and Robert Cardalish, absolutely devastated, after the removal of their fence and flowerpots was ordered on their heritage listed building, formerly the old Murchison Bank.
Locals and many of the 900+ people who signed their petition to save their fence last year took to social media last week to express their opinions on the matter. One person wrote “this is a travesty of justice” another commenting “there appears to be no democracy in Shepparton Council.”
Deb and Robert commented that they feel Greater Shepparton City Council has very little interest in the community of Murchison and stated that the decision was not about the planning process and came down to the Heritage Advisor and CEO’s subjective opinions.
“They said our building was too masculine and austere, making the fence too pretty,” said Deb.
“We believe the fence suits the style of the building, so did everyone else that supported our petition,” she added.
“We are devastated that this rare and authentic cast iron will be damaged during the removal. It is the fifth fence for this building, and it will not be the last beyond us,” said Robert.
“We tried our best to work within the policies, but they just kept changing the goal posts. Why are we saving historic buildings if the community’s opinion is not being heard? And why would people bother to take one on, when you have no control over your own property,” he added.
Deb and Robert will now await further instructions on when the cast iron fence and flowerpots must come down, they said they are suffering from the outcome but will survive.
“Thank you to the people of Murchison for your support, being part of this community is the one good thing that has come out of this,” said Deb.
“This may be a legal victory, but it’s certainly not a moral one,” she added.