Plans for derelict building proceed

HAZARD:The old CH Smith building in Launceston has been vacant for more than 20 years and described by members of the public as a “safety risk”.The owners of a heritage listed building in Launceston that has been vacant for more than 20 years say they are progressing with their plans for the site.

Geelong based property group Brile currently own the former CH Smith building, a structure which has been described as a “hazard” and an “eyesore” by members of the public.

Concerns around the safety of the building escalated afterpolice reported a fire had beendeliberately lit at the property on Friday, sparking calls from the community to demolish the structure.

Brile financial controller Peter Velt said the business had a development application for the site approved by council and was moving forward with the project “as quickly as possible”.

“The building was in a mess when we got it, and it had been that way for 20 plus years,” Mr Velt said.

“We have an approval. There are a lot of factors slowing it down, some that are out of our control, but we’re still progressing.”

Launceston City Council said it would “undertake an assessment” of the building, after Friday’s incident.

Acting general manager for council Michael Tidey said the assessment would “determine if there was any action required underthe Building Act or other regulations”.

Mr Tideysaid council was continuing to work with the site’s owners.

“The City of Launcestonis as eager as anyone to see this site redeveloped for the benefit of our city,” he said.

“The council has previously voted to reduce application fees and has offered every assistance to the developers.

“We continue to offer assistance and to explore options for facilitating an appropriate redevelopment of the site.”

Tasmanian Heritage Protection Society president Lionel Morrell said it would not be in the public’s interest to demolish the building.

“Itwould be a slap in the face for anyone who has ever argued for heritage protection in this city,” he said.

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