The future of development on the site of the Huskisson church is unknown, following a meeting of the state heritage council.
Following community backlash about developer Steve Bartlett’s plans to build a conference hotel on the site, the Save Husky Church group lodged an application for an interim heritage order on the site.
Following the lodgement, previously unknown information about Indigenous burials on the site was discovered, causing the wider community to oppose the plans.
The State Heritage Register Committee of the Heritage Council met to assess the heritage application on Wednesday, November 7 and recommended to the Minister for Heritage Gabrielle Upton, that an interim heritage order be placed on the site.
A brief will now be prepared for the Minister’s consideration.
The purpose of an interim heritage order is to provide a "breathing space" of no more than 12 months during which a full heritage assessment can be completed and provides temporary protection from demolition or development. Temporary in nature, the majority of interim heritage orders are made in response to community representations or concerns raised by local government.
While Mr Bartlett would not comment on the heritage council’s decision he said he was appalled by the way the community campaign had been run.
“I am grossly disappointed that community members would behave like this,” he said.
Save Husky Church member Shirley Fitzgerald said the group had only tried to draw attention to what they believed was an important historical site.
“All we did was submit to the heritage council what we believed were some very strong arguments on the heritage of the site,” she said.
Ms Fitzgerald said the group was “delighted” with the Heritage Council’s decision and said the group would continue to campaign for preservation of the church and surrounding land.
”It’s great that the application for a heritage order has even reached this point,” she said.
“Obviously the council thinks it has some merit.”