Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Future Undecided For Maitland Historical Crown Office


The old Lands Office building, located on the corner of the New England Highway and Banks Street in East Maitland has fallen under the claim of Property NSW.

New Crown Lands Laws, which will come into effect on the 1st of July, will make it easier for the State Government to transfer all the deeds to the property to their in-house real estate agency, saving both time and money.

Since 2011, Maitland has seen the loss of over a dozen Lands jobs, with the staff operating from the historic Banks Street office becoming a part of that list.

Representatives from a handful of history-focused community groups around the Maitland area are outraged with the possible permanent closure and eradication of the building and is looking for support to keep the property standing for cultural purposes.

Image sourced: 2NURFM Reporter - Ariana Gatti - East Maitland

Many community members are advocating for the building to be turned into a public museum and with the right fit-out and designs, could become a positive learning and historical hub for all.

Shadow Minister for Lands, Mick Veitch, is still in shock and disagreement with the way historical sights are being treated by the NSW representatives.

Image sourced: 2NURFM Reporter - Ariana Gatti - East Maitland

"This is an example of the management of our Crown Lands estate under the current government. They will sell anything, and unfortunately this beautiful building is slated for sale", he says.

With very limited areas offered to the preservation and dedication of the historical remembrance for Maitland's past, the building offers a large enough space which has already come under inspections for adaptability to be open for business opportunity.

Maitland MP, Jenny Aitchison says the precinct is being neglected by the State Government.

"This is just a number of vacant properties of land left sitting unused and neglected that could be utilised to greatly enhance our community", she says.

However, while bringing back the control of the building to those who represent the community, the costs to buy the building is a little on the pricey side.

President of the Maitland Regional Museum, Janece MacDonald, believes affordability is definitely one of the main obstacles standing in the way of making the office a historic exhibition centre.

"An investigator and property appraiser came in to look at the property, and they said the asking price to buy the building would probably sit at $1.7 million", Ms MacDonald says.

Image sourced: 2NURFM Reporter - Ariana Gatti - East Maitland



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