Redland City Council has moved to ensure work to protect the historic Willard’s Farm can start as soon as possible while the Queensland Heritage Council considers another application from a small group of neighbouring residents calling for the property to be listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.
Mayor Karen Williams said Council supported the community’s desire that Willards Farm be protected but was concerned the application currently before the Queensland Heritage Council could delay restoration works on the homestead and farm buildings.
“Council bought this property in 2016 to save it from demolition, which had been approved by a private certifier, and prevent the land from being developed into residential housing,” she said.
“We also included the farmstead it on our Heritage Places Register to help protect its local heritage.”
“We are committed to ensuring this piece of local history is protected and have $250,000 allocated this financial year to plan the restoration of the Willards Farm homestead and farm buildings to protect the property for future generations to enjoy.
“Unfortunately, the application from a small group of residents to list the property on the Queensland Heritage Register will delay this body of work and subsequently the restoration works, as the application creates uncertainty in the scope and timing of design works.”
Cr Williams noted that a previous application made in 2015 to have the property listed on the Queensland Heritage Register was denied by the State Heritage Council, and said Council’s initial submission to the Queensland Heritage Council would seek to clarify inaccuracies in the new application.
“As the owner of the site and the local government authority responsible for planning the site, we need to make sure the community has accurate information, so we will be correcting some inaccuracies in the application with the Queensland Heritage Council,” Cr Williams said.
“This includes a suggestion there will be large scale development on the site that will threaten known heritage values. We have already done a great deal of work to identify and protect heritage on the site and any suggestion this won’t occur is just inaccurate and puts at risk the projects the community has told us they want to see delivered.”
“We are committed to the protection and preservation of Willards Farm, which is located on Old Cleveland Road East and is part of Birkdale Community Precinct.
“Earlier this year we asked the community what they would like to see on the Birkdale Community Precinct, resulting in an exciting vision that includes protecting and celebrating Willards Farm, while also delivering new recreation spaces such as a water park for the community.
“Council will also make a further submission once the recommendation by the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science is received and before the Queensland Heritage Council’s final determination.