Is this the way forward for the Denmark?

denmark miners cottage

The Denmark Hotel and Bulli Miners Cottage [Image: Google Street View]

A WAY forward may have been found to preserve two of Bulli’s most treasured heritage buildings.

Wollongong City Council is working on a concept plan to save the ailing Denmark Hotel, and the next door Miners Cottage, which it owns.

The owner of the former Denmark Hotel has been prevented from moving forward with plans for a five unit residential apartment redevelopment of the heritage listed building after the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) – the old RTA – rejected plans for a driveway onto the Princes Highway.

draft concept plan denmark

The concept plan, showing the driveway to the north of the Bulli Miners Cottage, accessing a car park and the Denmark Hotel.

Without RMS approval, the development has been in limbo ever since, with the owner unable to find suitable access into the property, while the old Denmark fell further into disrepair.

The owner’s proposal involved adaptive reuse of the existing buildings, as well as some additions at the rear, and has seen much of the interior of the ground level gutted.

In September 2013, a pre-lodgement meeting was held with Wollongong City Council in an attempt to overcome problems accessing the site and other issues.

A solution seems to have been found with the developer requesting access to the site from the Wollongong Council owned, Bulli Miners Cottage, which sits next door.

Council in December 2015 approved in principle support for the establishment of a ‘Right of Carriageway’ over the Bulli Miner’s Cottage to the Denmark Hotel, with a car park stretching over the two sites, servicing both properties.

The use of the Miners Cottage land though is subject to a number of conditions, including for the adaptive reuse and long term conservation of the Denmark Hotel building.

Part of the plan is for Council to “Call for Proposals” for the Miners Cottage, which has sat empty for almost 10 years and, like the Denmark, is also rapidly falling into disrepair.

While this seems the way forward, I do have some concerns that part of Council’s “Call for Proposals” for the Miners Cottage, allows for its lease for commercial use.

denmark air

Map showing the location of the Denmark Hotel and Bulli Miners Cottage

This may work, but any major structural changes to the cottage would be disastrous, and should be guarded carefully.

What I do like about the concept plan is Council’s ‘Right of Carriageway’ to the Denmark, which must ensure the ongoing viability of the Miner’s Cottage, for “suitable adaptive reuse options”.

“The final agreement should provide for a financial return, and/or works in kind, that will have benefit to the ongoing conservation of the Bulli Miner’s Cottage,” the Council report states.

Councillors have agreed for a report to be provided prior to formalisation of an agreement to establish a ‘Right of Carriageway’, as well as a report on the outcome of the ‘Call for Proposals’ process for the Miners Cottage.

I, along with many other people, wait with anticipation the next step in the long battle to preserve Bulli’s landmark Denmark Hotel.

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3 thoughts on “Is this the way forward for the Denmark?

  1. So Wollongong Council has allowed the Bulli Miner’s Cottage, a significant heritage property that it owns, to fall into ruin through neglect, no maintenance and poor planning and management. This property was acquired with significant funds from the NSW taxpayer. Council’s obligation then and now is to conserve and maintain the property. There are plenty of councils in NSW with just 2,000 ratepayers that manage to look after heritage properties with more energy and ideas than Wollongong. Why should half the grounds of the Miner’s Cottage be amputated to facilitate residential development by the owner of the Denmark Hotel? Anyone with the most basic knowledge of heritage practice could tell council’s staff and its heritage committee that the setting is integral to the significance of the cottage and is not vacant land up for development or a right of way. Don’t the lives and experience of ordinary people deserve recognition and conservation in Wollongong?

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    • This concept plan is a sensible proposal that on initial viewing is a potential win-win for both properties.
      The fact is that both properties need to have major renovations and, when completed, ongoing worthwhile, financially sustainable and broadly attractive purposes, and this does not include (in the case of the Miners Cottage) yet another same-old-same-old, underutilised, money draining, static museum that nobdy outside the heritage lobby and 1 or 2 seniors day tours would even give a damn about. A sympathetic redevelopment of both of these potentially lovely buildings can be achieved with a bit of strategic and engineering foresight and a large dose of common sense.

      And if the Denmark Hotel is ultimately denied reasonable vehicular access then the heritage order on this property should be immediately rescinded and the “private property” owner be permitted to demolish the buidling and fully redevelop the site. The heritage lobby and the powers that be cannot have it both ways.

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    • The miners Cottage should be moved to the miners park at Tarrarwanna . The council could then sell the vacant bloke to pay for moving the cottage and what is left over to maintain the cottage

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