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Heritage home hoax letters

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September 09, 2017

Shepparton residents with historically significant homes have been sent anonymous letters warning of a potential council takeover of their property. Picture: AAP.

Shepparton residents with historically significant homes have been sent anonymous letters warning of a potential council takeover of their property.

The letters, which have been dropped in the letter boxes of several homes on the Greater Shepparton City Council’s draft heritage study, warns of potential impacts of a future heritage listing.

The anonymous letters warn the recipients if their home is added to the heritage register the council could ‘‘take control of your property’’.

It warns council will use the study to push developers where they want and that homeowners will be heavily restricted on what they can do to their own homes.

Home owner Tamara Currie received a copy and described it as baseless ‘‘scaremongering’’.

Her home, which she described as a new modern Californian bungalow built in 1939 could potentially be added to the Heritage Register.

She did not see a potential Heritage Register listing as a threat to her investment and wanted the house to be protected into the future.

‘‘It has quite a lot of historical significance, it bridged the Art Deco with what they called New Modern,’’ she said.

She believed heritage protections were important to protect the important older buildings that could be torn down in the name of progress.

‘‘Shepparton used to be such a pretty town, there have been some amazing buildings that have been destroyed,’’ she said.

Among the letter’s questionable claims were that insurance premiums for her home would triple under a heritage listing and property values would fall.

‘‘Most agents I have spoken to have said that for a home in good condition, a heritage protection would actually increase its value,’’ she said.

The council had confirmed a number of homes on the public draft heritage study had been sent the questionable letter.

Currently 182 homes of potential heritage value are on the study and the council is engaged in a public consultation program with the homeowners.

A council spokesperson said the information in the anonymous letter was ‘‘incorrect’’.

‘‘Property owners with any questions about the heritage register or heritage overlays can contact the Planning Department at Council on 58329730,’’ the spokesperson said.

Have you received the anonymous letter? Let us know on [email protected]

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