DRAWINGS have been submitted in a last-ditch attempt to save Yallungah’s rare staircase from demolition, but the developer contends building regulations would make the attempt pointless.
Submissions closed for revised plans for the now 22-room boutique Byng Street hotel on Wednesday, which included a pitched roof for the extension instead of a flat roof, smaller floor area and less glazing.
One of the opponents, heritage architect James Nicholson, included a revised plan in his submission allowing the staircase to remain, arguing the high-quality craftsmanship required in the design spoke about builder William Lamrock’s social standing and design priorities given the house was built in the middle of a depression.
The sketch includes a hallway linking the stair with the extension, making the stained glass window on the stair a focus for the new corridor.
Mr Nicholson argued it would also allow the bedroom and sitting room in one of the suites to be swapped, meaning one of the original fireplaces could be reconstructed.
“To do otherwise would be to ignore the uniform advice of the three heritage experts involved in the project, and allow an important element to be destroyed and lost forever,” he said.
“Our intent is solely to preserve an important element of historic fabric. It should also be noted that this is not the only way to achieve this objective and that Denoc Holdings are free to find other ways to preserve the stair.”
Orange City Council is due to submit a revised statement of facts and contentions to the NSW Land and Environment Court on Friday before hearings on May 9 and 10.
The development’s heritage impact was one of the reasons councillors refused the proposal last May.
However Denoc Holdings managing director David Nock said retaining the stair was not an option because it did not comply with disability and workplace health and safety requirements.
“You’ve got to take it out and rebuild it,” he said.
“It would go into the many thousands of dollars and you haven’t got any idea how much really until you start to work it out.”
Mr Nock said he was originally advised he would not face restrictions on internal changes.
However, he said the staircase was ultimately a matter for the council to decide.
“I’ve heard so many different ways of doing it – one was to put a dumbwaiter in,” he said.
“I’m sick of heritage architects giving us schemes we can do and having no idea how much it’s going to cost.”
Opponents have maintained their position on the development based on its bulk and scale and traffic arrangements.