SIRIUS SAVED A BIG WIN FOR THE PEOPLE
SSOA is celebrating the win in the Land and Environment Court in favour of heritage protection for the SIRIUS Building in The Rocks.
As reported in smh.com.au (by Jacob Saulwick July 25) the building of brutalist architecture design will remain standing for some time yet, after the NSW government’s plans to demolish the building for apartments were defeated in court.
Acting judge of the Land and Environment Court Simon Molesworth ruled that former heritage minister Mark Speakman, now the state’s attorney-general, made two errors of law when deciding not to list the building on the State Heritage Register.
The decision, which was greeted with cheers by community campaigners in a packed court room … means that new Heritage Minister Gabrielle Upton will have to redo a decision as to whether to list the building
As such, the decision does not save Sirius, a building that has stoked fierce passions both for and against. But Shaun Carter, the president of the Save our Sirius group that has been fighting to preserve the brutalist structure, called on Premier Gladys Berejiklian to reconsider its future.
“Gladys, we ask you to hit pause,” Mr Carter said outside the courtroom.
Justice Molesworth found that Mr Speakman erred in the way he applied the Heritage Act. One error was that Mr Speakman considered that listing the building would cause financial hardship to the building’s owner, Property NSW, without properly considering the impact on that owner.
A second error was that he failed to make a determination about the particular heritage significance of the building.
The state’s Heritage Council unanimously recommended listing the Sirius in a recommendation made in early 2016. Mr Speakman, however, decided against listing the building in July. In doing so, he said listing the structure would deny the state about $70 million it could spend on other social housing.
The Sirius Building has, since its opening in 1980, generated fiercely held views. The National Trust, for instance, said during the building’s construction that it would be a “lump on the Rocks”. Yet the National Trust has since argued the building should be retained.
SSOA has been involved in the Save Our Sirius group’s campaign to save the building on the basis of its heritage value.