Menu

Cnr Bentham and Hutchins St

Bentham and Hutchins 2017
Derelict site

The blocks 39 Bentham and 33 Hutchins Street opposite Yarralumla Shops were part of early 1920's Canberra Brickworks Housing Precinct but are now a derelict site. [Blocks 8, 11 and 19 (previously 12 & 16) Section 64, Yarralumla]

Most recent update July 2020

Access Canberra has advised that the site has now been classified as an “untidy site” and formal action taken under the Planning and Development Act 2007 to improve the look of the site. The YRA will continue to monitor the site and press for action. The YRA is also keen to see the site developed but only after appropriate community consultation on any new development application.


Key Points

  • The former residential site at the corner of Bentham and Hutchins Street adjacent to the Yarralumla Shops (39 Bentham Street and 33 Hutchins Street-Block 19 Section 64 Yarralumla) has been derelict from 2012, that is 8 years.
  • The condition of this site has a major impact on the amenity and the appearance of the suburb particularly given its location.
  • There are safety issues as the site is a big hole in the ground that collects stagnant water; has piles of rubble and rubbish; is unsafe as it is not properly fenced and with the access road to the adjacent Bentham Street houses collapsing into the site; there has been vandalism and graffiti.
  • On this Block there previously stood two heritage listed cottages built in 1921 to house workers at the Canberra Brickworks.
  • The Community sought to have these heritage values protected. In 2007 redevelopment was approved for partial demolition and reconstruction with the two cottages to be replaced by 8 dwellings.
  • In 2012 a stop work order was issued for this site as the developer had contravened the conditions of the approval by demolishing most of the site and the development approval had also lapsed.
  • Since the stop work there has been no activity on the site; the development approval has lapsed; the developer had gone in to liquidation and the builder bought the site in 2014.
  • The community has on five occasions since 2015, sought to have this matter addressed.
  • In June 2020 Access Canberra advised that the site was now considered an “untidy” site under the Planning and Development Act 2007 and formal action has commenced to remedy the condition of the site.

Bentham St collage 2018

Context

The Canberra Brickworks opened in 1913 and in 1921 the first permanent cottages were built on site and these were some of the earliest Canberra houses. The designs were taken from the Littleton housing development at Lithgow, NSW.  Littleton was implemented in 1919 by the Federal Department of Works and Railways, which was also responsible for building Canberra. The design and layout of the 1921-22 houses applied Garden City principles and included hedges and backyard garages, with substantial open space within blocks and street trees typical of Griffin’s suburban planning concepts.  The houses at 37, 35 and 33 Hutchins Street and 39 Bentham Street, [Blocks 8, 11 and 19 (previously 12 & 16) Section 64, Yarralumla] were constructed in 1921 and 2004 were listed on the ACT Heritage Council’s Heritage Places Register in 2004 as they retained this original architectural style and character.

Timeline

  • 28 September 2004 Blocks 8,11,12 and 16 Section 64 entered into interim Heritage Places Register
  • 2004 owner of 39 Bentham Street opposes heritage listing and matter goes to ACAT for review with decision in November
  • 2007 Development Application approved to build 8 dwellings with heritage protection requirements for facades
  • 4 October 2007, Development Application 2007 03503 was approved (subject to conditions to protect the heritage values) for the demolition of existing buildings and the erection of eight attached dwellings on for Block 19 (previously Blocks 12 & 16) that is 39 Bentham Street and 33 Hutchins Street
  • 23 April 2009 application granted to extend the period of the Development Application to 10 April 2011
  • On 4 February 2011 an application to amend the initial approval of the Development Application was approved. The amendment included reducing the number of units and reconfiguring other units.
  • 17 April 2012 ACT Government issued a stop work notice on the Development due to non-compliance with the specific conditions of the approval.  The garages and most of the facades of the 1921 cottages had been demolished which was not in accordance with the development approval.  It was also ascertained that the development approval had lapsed.
  • October 2012 Administrative Review 2012 ACAT 69 Decision.  The owner of Block 19 sought review by ACAT of the decision that the development approval lapsed but this was not upheld by ACAT. The developer subsequently went into liquidation and the block was sold to the builder.
  • 2012 to 2018 Block 19 has not been subject to and Development Approval or activity during this 6-year period. 
  • The site is derelict, not properly fenced, there are gaps in the temporary fence that are easy to walk through, and it is unsafe with the access road to the adjacent Bentham Street houses collapsing into the site.
  • The derelict site is adjacent to the shopping centre and impacts on amenity, the appearance of the suburb and property values.
  • Between 2015 and 2018 five complaints have been lodged with the ACT Government to address the state of the site and to enforce compliance of the use of the land with the lease purpose clause, namely RZ2 Residential with specific heritage requirements.
  • In June 2020 Access Canberra advised that the site was now considered an “untidy” site under the Planning and Development Act 2007 and formal action has commenced to remedy the condition of the site.

39 Bentham St 2018

Blocks overhead photo