The vexed issue of heritage protection is in the news again, with controversy over the development of two apartment blocks behind the 1886 Clayfield heritage home Mundumburrah”, which will be raised and brought forward on its lot to accommodate the development, as reported in today’s Courier-Mail. I cannot see the problem with this, but it has upset local residents who are questioning whether the Council is committed to protecting Brisbane’s heritage.
The Council’s decision regarding this particular property appears sensible within the current guidelines. Redeveloping those inner city suburbs with character housing, and increasing the population density of those suburbs, is a major way we can accommodate a growing population and house people closer to where they work and play. Consider that there is a lot of scope to boost population density in Brisbane, as ABS data reveal that the population densities of our inner city suburbs are well below those in Sydney and Melbourne (see the chart below).
As has been pointed out on this blog several times before, such as in Brad Rogers’s guest post Old Queenslanders in a New City, the protection of heritage can come at a high economic cost. We should respect our heritage, of course, but there are more sensible ways to do that than ruling out the re-development of every old house in Brisbane.