Royal Willows heritage to be discussed at council meeting

Royal Willows heritage to be discussed at council meeting

Council is attempting to find some common ground between the owners of Pambula's Royal Willows Hotel, Jeanette and Kel Stolzenhein and members of the community concerned about the demolition of the building that has been a hotel for over 130 years.

In a report, to be discussed on Wednesday afternoon at the council meeting, council's heritage advisor Trevor King, has suggested new plans for the re-development of the property be progressed in consultation with a town planner and suitably qualified heritage consultant.

The Stolzenheins submitted a DA to council for the demolition of the hotel and existing bottle shop and their replacement by a supermarket, licensed cafe with al fresco seating and a drive through bottle shop.

The nomination of the hotel as a heritage item after a proposal was submitted in 2018, will be part of the council discussion but council staff are not recommending the heritage listing.

Mr King found the hotel to be in poor condition, with only a small section of the original facade remaining and much of the original fabric of the building lost through adaptations.

"The major components of the original structure that still exist are found in the sections of external wall (north, south and corner returns located along the eastern wall), some internal loadbearing wall remnants and the hipped roof structure," Mr King said, concluding the Royal Willows did not meet the criteria for local heritage listing.

But Mr King said the building made a historic, aesthetic and social contribution to the Pambula Main Street Conservation Area and it was important that the cultural values and the contribution that the building made to the streetscape were conserved.

He suggested new plans be developed in consultation with a town planner and suitably qualified heritage consultant or architect.

Mr King said he had sought to "provide a positive, realistic and pragmatic response to the owner's need to secure the economic viability and long-term functioning of the property while seeking to strike a balance with community concerns regarding the perceived social damage caused by the proposed demolition of the hotel, its re-development potential as a 'green' supermarket and the possibility of diminishing the shire's heritage values and causing damage to Pambula citizens' senses of place."