Historic church saved for now – but legal challenge could be next

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The 120 year old St James Anglican Church in Kent Street, Minto
Saved for now: the 120 year old St James Anglican Church in Kent Street, Minto will not be demolished after Campbelltown Council voted against the plan last night.

The 120 year old St James Anglican Church at Minto has avoided the demolition bullet – for now.

Campbelltown Council last night strongly rejected an application by the St James Anglican Church Parish to demolish the historic place of worship in Kent Street.

It wasn’t unanimous – Labor councillor Rey Manoto abstained from voting – but all the other 13 councillors present rejected demolition.

The issue will now either go to a review of council’s decision or the Land and Environment Court.

But despite being told the church was not even heritage listed, councillors stayed strong in trying to protect an important part of local history.

“This church is a significant community landmark, and it’s fixable, so we say no to demolition,’’ veteran councillor Meg Oates told council.

Cr Darcy Lound said it was “disappointing’’ the parish had not offered a viable alternative plan to demolition, including allowing parishioners to fundraise for repairs.

Cr Karen Hunt said a poor relocation job, plus neglect had led to this point.

“But the church is not beyond repair, so we should not allow demolition,’’ Cr Hunt said.

St James Anglican Church was originally erected on the corner of Minto Road and Cumberland Road in 1897.

It was subsequently dismantled and re-erected on its present site in 1918.

The church contains two foundation stones – with historical newspapers located behind the stones – within the external building fabric.

A time capsule has recently been placed in the immediate area of the church building.

The church building, which has not been used for church services since 1985, is now a storage area, according to a report tabled at the meeting last night.

A church spokesman told council last night it would cost around $160,000 to repair the church building, not $92,000 as claimed by those opposed to demolition.

The lower figure was an estimate, while the higher was an actual quote obtained by the parish, he said.

Ingleburn Fair
Ingleburn Fair has been closed for refurbishment.

♦ In other decisions at last night’s meeting, council:

• Agreed to immediately remove the current parking restrictions at Ingleburn Fair car park for the benefit of commuters. The shopping centre has been closed for a while and is currently undergoing renovations;

• Deferred the start of a trial music program for pre-school children who are identified as being on the Autism spectrum. Cr Margaret Chivers asked that a further report be prepared to include children older than five years of age.

• Backed a call by the mayor, Cr George Brticevic for a report on a roundabout beautification program, which would include at least one large tree and other lower level plantings on larger roundabouts;

• supported a suggestion to create further avenues of trees in significant locations such as Emerald Drive, Campbelltown Road, Eagle Vale Drive and others. Cr Brticevic also asked that a report be provided on the costs and benefits of council’s annual tree planting program.





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