Vandals have damaged the already dilapidated Williamstown house at the centre of a conservation row – which is also residential development site – in Melbourne’s south west.
After a complaint by the Hobsons City Council, Heritage Victoria has ordered the property’s owner, Hoppers Crossing pensioner Gary Page, erect a new fence around the crumbling home which occupies a corner of an 839 square metre site his family has owned since 1964 and used as storage for a business.
Mr Page listed the Aitken Street site for sale in April to help pay for living costs after the Global Financial Crisis saw his superannuation value plummet.
The ramshackle 4-room weatherboard dwelling that sits on the property is thought to be one of the oldest surviving structures in Williamstown, possibly the State, and after much debate was added to the Heritage Victoria register in 2007.
Despite offers by a Williamstown white knight to relocate and restore the home into some kind of community use, at a speculated personal cost of more than $200,000, council is quietly insisting the dwelling stay on its current location, twice declining an offer from The Sunday Age to discuss alternative locations.
An “interested parties meeting” – an informal gathering with Heritage Victoria, council, the owner of the property and any objectors, is scheduled for late this week.