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Willoughby City Council has taken a decisive step to safeguard the historical integrity of the 43 Donnelly Road site in Naremburn by implementing an Interim Heritage Order. 

Willoughby City Council has implemented an Interim Heritage Order encompassing all currently unlisted parts of the land at 43 Donelly Road, Naremburn, including the Church, Presbytery, and school buildings. 

The move comes amid an ongoing appeal before the Land and Environment Court of NSW regarding the Willoughby Local Planning Panel’s decision to refuse a development application pertaining to 43 Donnelly Road. The application sought to demolish the school buildings while introducing alterations to the existing presbytery building.

Expressing concern over proposed demolitions of the school buildings, significant alterations to the Presbytery, and unsympathetic subdivision, Mayor Tanya Taylor “emphasizes the potential harm to the historic structures. While the Church itself is protected, an independent preliminary heritage assessment has revealed that the surrounding buildings also hold local heritage significance.”

Willoughby City Council recognizes the importance of the buildings located at 43 Donnelly Rd, adjacent to the Church. In line with the completion of the Heritage Review later this year, the Council is considering their inclusion in The Willoughby Local Environment Plan. Such an inclusion will allow for a comprehensive understanding and protection of the site’s full heritage significance.

During a meeting on February 27, 2023, Council resolved to identify the Presbytery as an item of potential local significance. Moreover, it will be part of the upcoming 2023/24 Council Heritage Review. Additionally, Council has requested to be notified if the School Buildings hold any potential heritage value.

The preliminary heritage assessment suggests that the site’s significance extends beyond the Church’s immediate surroundings. This prompts a careful examination of whether the heritage curtilage should be adjusted accordingly.

Preserving the rich historical legacy of the Donnelly Road Church site is a paramount priority for Willoughby City Council. The Interim Heritage Order underscores the Council’s commitment to protect and appreciate the site’s heritage significance.