By Mikayla van Loon
Yarra Ranges Council moved a motion on Tuesday evening to request the State government apply an interim heritage overlay to the property at 1 Montrose Road Montrose.
With a planning application for a childcare centre to be built at the site, the council has been assessing the permit given a number of objections based on heritage grounds.
The property contains a single residential dwelling known as Alta Dena and would see partial demolition of the rear of the building to accommodate the proposed development.
The council had never formally conducted a heritage assessment of the property but has since engaged a qualified heritage consultant.
In the report submitted by the consultant it was noted that Alta Dena is a 1929 Tudor Revival style residence constructed during the growth of the Yarra Ranges in the interwar era as a tourist destination and guest house, surrounded by a picturesque landscape.
Councillor Len Cox moved the recommendation to apply for a heritage overlay from the planning minister and protect a historical aspect of the town.
“This is a building that has been sitting on the corner of Montrose Road in the most prominent position in Montrose and it has been there for a long while. It’s got quite a history,” he said.
“It’s been at a bit of a risk with people looking to do something with it and actually there’s a lot worse than what has been proposed at the moment…it has no protection, no heritage protection and it certainly does [need it].
“It would be a catastrophe to have it removed. It’s a wonderful landmark in Montrose and it would be terrible to lose it and also it would be terrible just to take bits of it and alter it around to suit some other activity.”
Councillor Andrew Fullagar seconded the motion and said he agreed with Cr Cox on the significance of the property.
“It’s certainly a significant landmark for Montrose, with a tangible link to its history and how the built environment was shaped in the ‘20s and ‘30s. It’s also aesthetically significant with its impressive pitched gabled roofs, windows and brick corner buttresses,” he said.
“So I think it is certainly worth saving and this is an important step in having an interim overlay for the future because it takes a number of months to get the permanent overlay in place.”
The motion was carried unanimously by all councillors.