Sydney’s historic heritage sites are being taken out of service due to a shortage of affordable housing.
As part of a series of planning reviews, the city has begun removing more than 200 homes from historic buildings and has identified more than 400 vacant homes for demolition.
Architects and heritage leaders have said the closures will impact on thousands of homes across Sydney, while the city is also in the midst of its biggest redevelopment in more than a century.
In the wake of the landmark redevelopment of Sydney in the early 1980s, many of the historic buildings were demolished and replaced with apartments.
Archaeologist Dr Rebecca Pugh said the impact was likely to be devastating for the city’s heritage sites, as well as its historic architecture.
“There are more than 150 sites that are being impacted by the closures, and they’re being put into the hands of developers and developers are going to be looking at how they can put in other housing, so there’s going to need to be a whole range of new housing,” she said.
“If we see a lot of the homes go into the market, we’re going to have to see a whole different level of housing that doesn’t exist today.”
Architect, heritage and heritage leader Dr Rebecca Phau said the planning review was necessary, as the city was at risk of losing its historic heritage.
“The first priority is that these homes are preserved, but they need to also be able to be preserved to the best of their ability, so that when they are redeveloped, they’re actually affordable, so people will have the option to live in them, and that will allow them to have more options in their communities,” she told news.com.au.
“It’s the kind of thing that we need to consider, so if we don’t do it, then there’s a risk of a whole series of events.”
Archaeological experts and experts in heritage and architecture are calling on the council to immediately halt the planned demolition and start working on a plan for a new heritage site, before the next round of planning takes place in 2023.
“We need to have some sort of plan, because it’s very hard to know what’s going on and where they are going, and how long they’re going,” Dr Phau told newscom.com, explaining the city needed to work quickly to prepare.
“Because the city as a whole is in crisis and we’ve been through a housing crisis and a financial crisis, we need a plan.”
Dr Phau added that the city would need to develop a plan within a few years to help secure the future of these historic properties.
“They’ve been here for more than 800 years, so the city, we can’t let them all go, they need some kind of plan,” she argued.
“This is not going to happen overnight, we don