Campbelltown Council has won the latest battle in the fight to save Minto’s historic St James Anglican Church.
In April Campbelltown Council heeded calls from several passionate locals and rejected an application from the Anglican Church Property Trust Diocese of Sydney to demolish the 120-year-old church.
The property trust then appealed the decision to the Land and Environment Court. It first appeared before the court in July but proceedings were postponed until late October after the “registrar made certain procedural directions concerning the filing of facts”.
However, the appeal was withdrawn after the council successfully applied for an interim heritage order, which came into effect on October 10, weeks before the matter was set to return to court.
Council’s director of city development Jim Baldwin said the order provided temporary protection for the church.
“The purpose of the order is to temporarily prevent approvals being issued by any authority – including the Land and Environment Court – for any development on the land or the church while further investigation work is undertaken to determine the potential for the permanent heritage listing of the church,” he said.
“Council has now engaged a heritage expert to undertake further work to assess the potential permanent heritage listing of the church.
“Once this work has been completed, there will be a further report to council so that a decision can be made on whether or not the building should be listed as an item of heritage in the Campbelltown Local Environmental Plan.
“The interim heritage order can remain in place for a maximum period of 12 months.”
Laurie Porter was one of the most vocal locals opposing the demolition.
She lauded the council for taking the fight to the church.
“I’m really grateful to the council for sticking up for the community,” she said.
“I just hope the council’s effort isn’t in vain.
“I hope the church will listen to the community and not push ahead with any more attempts to demolish the building.
“My hope is they will repair it.”
An Anglican Church Property Trust Diocese of Sydney spokesman said they had no comment to make at this stage.