The Huskisson Holy Trinity Church has been the talk of the community for weeks, after plans to sell the church were revealed.
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Since then, Huskisson resident Stephen Bartlett has lodged a development application with Shoalhaven City Council with intent to demolish the church.
While some community members are up in arms about the application, Mr Bartlett said he had the community’s best interests in mind.
“I’ve been here for years and years and I’m not going to damage the town,” he said.
“From my point of view we will follow proper processes to seek rezoning.”
The land is zoned as a place for worship, though the church has not been used for several years. Mr Bartlett said he would apply for a B2 rezoning.
“B2 is the zoning applicable to most of the surrounding Huskisson CBD,” he said. “We just want to rezone so it’s the same as the rest of the CBD with a three-storey height limit.”
While Mr Bartlett said there were no detailed plans for the site at this stage, any development would not be “inappropriate” for the town’s streetscape.
“Any development will not cover more than 50 per cent of the land,” he said.
“All parking will be located on site and there will be a lot of outdoor areas with piazzas and public spaces. We are not going to make something ugly or inappropriate because it needs to fit the character of the town.”
Community group Save Husky Church has been petitioning to save the church, citing its historical significance to the region.
To try and work with the group, Mr Bartlett said he offered to relocate the church to another site but the group refused.
The group has also raised concerns about the large native trees on the land, fearing their removal would impact native wildlife.
Mr Bartlett said he would seek an expert report from an arborist before removing any trees.
Save Husky Church has lodged an application for an Interim Heritage Order with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to try and stop the demolition.
However, in 2005, Shoalhaven City Council voted to remove the church from the heritage items listed on its Local Environment Plan.
The Anglican Church made the decision to try and sell the church and surrounding lands as the congregation outgrew the space.
The parish committee plans to buy a larger space at Vincentia with the proceeds, to fit the growing congregation.
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