Pressure is mounting on Penrith City Council to rescue a historic piece of real estate currently under threat of destruction.
Rodley House, a brick villa located at 12 Vista Street, Penrith, has stood proudly for 130 years, but its days could be numbered if Council approves a developer’s plan to tear down the property to make way for two high-rise apartment blocks.
Nepean Archaeology Group Vice President, Richard Ward, said it would be a “shame” to see Rodley House demolished “just to erect a block of units”.
“You have to be realistic – you can’t save everything, people have to live somewhere, but there are only a few houses left in Penrith of this era and calibre,” the Penrith native said.
“Having this house saved would truly benefit future Penrith residents, as the entire history of this house is documented and it has been continually occupied, unlike most historic houses.”
Surprisingly, the 19th century structure, which has housed three former Penrith Mayors and stands on Captain Daniel Woodriff’s original land grant of 1,000 acres by Governor King in 1804, “is not State Heritage Listed and does not appear to have ever been local heritage listed by Penrith Council”, an Office of Environment and Heritage spokeswoman confirmed.
If approved, the recently-lodged development application (DA) would see two six-storey buildings containing 82 apartments and basement car parking built on the site, which is nestled between Rodley Avenue and Union Road.
At a recent event, about 200 concerned locals approached the Archaeology Group asking if anything was being done to salvage the house from developers’ clutches, Mr Ward said.
“Surely if Penrith Council can intervene to save Fernhill, they can stop this development in the centre of Penrith,” he said.
At Councillor Marcus Cornish’s request, the DA is expected to come before Councillors for determination at Council’s Ordinary Meeting later this month, rather than be decided by delegated authority.
The Heritage Advisory Committee is also expected to try and apply for an interim heritage stay to enable the NSW Government to assess the historical merits of the property, Cr Cornish, who chairs the Committee, said.
Alena Higgins is the Weekender’s Court Reporter