Saturday, 1 December 2007


I'm not big on heritage orders. Most of the time, I think they are a crock.

I had my mind half-changed today. I rode through Haberfield, which is heritage listed from one end of the suburb to the other. Most of the streets are an absolute delight to behold - row upon row of genuine, untouched 1920's houses. It's like riding through a green and leafy museum.

The driver behind heritage listing the entire suburb was monstrosities like this:

They replaced things like this:

Personally, I love old houses. I find McMansions to be sterile and boring and as uninteresting as dog vomit. But that's just my opinion. Clearly, lots of other people love them because they are knocking down poky old houses and building flash new McMansions in their stead. People like roofs that don't leak, windows that don't rattle in the wind, floorboards that don't creak, walls that stay un-damp and rooms that are large enough to swing a large cat in. They like kitchens that are not the size of a galley kitchen on an ocean racing yacht, and having more than one toilet - and preferably having that toilet inside. They like ducted air conditioning and heating and they hate finding that termites have eaten half the foundations.

Reliability and liveability will always trump "interesting". Except for dingbats like me.

My take on all this is that if people want to know down an old but interesting house and build a golgothian monstrosity, that's their business. It's their property, not mine. I might regret the passing of that old house, but if I want to keep it that badly, I'll knock on the door and make the owner an offer he can't refuse. The only just way to stop someone from building an eyesore is to buy them out and let them build it further out in one of the new suburbs that are eyesores from end to end.

I detest the idea of planning and zoning and all the other crap that is really just a matter of the taste of a few over riding the preferences of everyone else. Who am I to judge if a building is ugly? Hell, look back at the fashions for clothing and hair for the 1970's and 1980's. Fashion and style are ephemeral things. I don't see why we should allow people (ie, Councils) to dictate what is essentially fashion for housing. What are they - catwalk queens?

If I think a house is ugly, I'll sort it out the old fashioned way. Buy a 66mm rocket launcher from a corrupt Army officer and put an HE round through the front door. Neighbours should after all have some say in the matter.

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