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Seymour Cottage Update January 2018

Cottage Report
Report on the current situation at the historic Seymour Cottage property
from John Spring Co-ordinator
December 11th 2017

All society members and many in our regional community are now aware of the extensive termite damage to Seymour Cottage and outbuilding and the consequent safety and repair reasons for closing the building to the public in August 2017. Background articles have appeared in the local newspapers and town newsletters on the termite and restoration problems. See online article at
https://romseylancefieldhistorical.com.au/our-blog/item/9-seymour-cottage-update
 Temporary propping of roof structure support beams have now been carried out to arrest their structural deterioration. It is however necessary to carry out a more comprehensive and physically intrusive investigation to assess and document the full extent of the termite damage. The society cannot gain accurate quotations for rectification works without more detailed identification of the full extent of structural timbers needing replacement and other related repairs. Consequently the temporary removal and storage of all of Seymour Cottage’s historic displays and chattels is necessary before the intrusive investigations in the roof, ceiling, walls and floors are undertaken.
 The Council has indicated that it will contribute $1,500 towards a steel storage shed-garage at the rear of the property. The total cost of which it is estimated at over double this grant amount.
 The Society’s recent application to the Macedon Ranges Shire Council for a ‘People & Places’ funding grant of $8,000 towards completing the storage shed works plus the consultants termite related investigations and structural restoration works and repair costs has been unsuccessful. This rejection of the Society’s urgency application for funds has been very disappointing and greatly effects the schedule of investigations and repairs and the realistic drafting of a strategic master plan.
 Currently much of the repair discussions and financial estimates is just conjecture until investigative reports and works assessments are received and repair costs have been quoted on by builders with experience in this type of historic restoration. The gardens and re-landscaping are another area of ‘green thumb’ works that need a new master strategy but can be implemented with dedicated local ‘Friends of Seymour Cottage’ people power. Can you help us in this ‘garden & landscape, restoration’ area ?
 Seymour Cottage is registered by Heritage Victoria and has town planning zoning control overlays which impose statutory responsibilities to obtain Heritage Permits (or permit exemptions) before undertaking any repairs and decorative changes. The Council’s heritage consultant Ivar Nelsen has been most helpful in advising the Society with a preliminary strategic repair plan along with making several Heritage Permit exemption requests on our behalf. Heritage Victoria has an annual ‘Living Heritage Grants’ funding program and it is hoped that the Society may have better luck in an application for consultants costs and restoration funds in the 2018 new year.
 The timing for all the necessary investigations, reports, restoration quotes and building repairs will now take much longer than initially estimated as other funding sources or grants must be obtained before proceeding.
 The drafting of a master plan has also been set back because realistic options and costs cannot be generated until specialist reports are completed and appropriately experienced heritage consultants and builders provide comparative work quotes. The Society has resolved that it cannot authorise spending on consultants investigations and any building works without there being adequate covering funds and grants ‘in our bank’ to cover the expenditure payments. The potential for your Historical Society going bankrupt over these restoration processes and works is a continuing possibility and must be conservatively managed to ensure restoration and future use of Seymour Cottage property is a longer term success.
If you can assist please email the Society’s Secretary at:
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