an extension to a house in a heritage street in Parkville is hard enough,
due to the vigilance of the Council's heritage advisor combined with
the enthusiasm of neighbours. But imagine the difficulties if the extension
can be seen from a public park at the rear of block! Every part of the
building is then subject to intense scrutiny.
Imagine receiving extensive advice from a Council planning officer who
then left, being replaced by another officer with somewhat different
ideas. Then, when everything seems to be sorted, that one leaves and
the process is taken over by someone else.
And imagine receiving a Town Planning Permit with a condition that states
that that original slate roof tiles facing the park must be retained,
making the top bedroom unbuildable.
Imagine then a VCAT hearing where the Council's heritage advisor puts
forward the view that the owners really don't need the top room, and
should learn to live more modestly, making do with one less bedroom.
If all this sounds hard then you will understand how Freda's skill and
determination was valued by the owners, who now have a well-organised
inner-city home with appropriately sized spaces, and great views to
the park and old eucalypts to the north. And all this was achieved with
architecture that is authentic, and avoids mimicry of a historical style,
but is nonetheless compatible with the Victorian character of the area.