Runnymede Under Threat

The National Trust’s flagship property, Runnymede is under threat from an unsympathetic adjacent development.

A revised Tasmanian Heritage Register listing for Runnymede recognizes the significance of its garden (a remaining part of a larger designed landscape with carriage drive, significant trees, ornamental and productive garden, fountain and other garden ornaments) as an outstanding colonial example of British Gardenesque Movement-inspired design, championed by the architectural and gardening writer J. C. Loudon (1783-1843).

Unfortunately, just as the THR listing has come into effect, Runnymede and its landscape has come under threat from a proposed adjacent development of three residential units at 65 Bay Road, a block subdivided from Runnymede in c1940. National Trust Tasmania, the Australian Garden History Society and New Town residents have made representations to Hobart City Council on the proposed development.

The proposed 65 Bay Road New Town development has the capacity to diminish the State Heritage listed values of the neighbouring Runnymede. The proposal is not subservient to the adjoining State Heritage listed place, stated heritage values of the area and street. It does not comply with the provisions of the New Town Heritage Review. The proposed excavation of the 65 Bay Road site threatens historic trees bordering the Runnymede carriage drive (in terms of the extent of their root mass) potentially creating greater visual impact for the new development. The new development has a window and first floor balcony looking into the Runnymede garden, located 2.4m from the property boundary.

The National Trust of Australia has conserved Runnymede, its flagpole, fountain, garden ornaments and historic trees since 1965. The Trust has been supported in this by an energetic and capable volunteer community garden group. The Macquarie Group, Australian Garden History Society and the Tasmanian Community Fund have raised or contributed funds for the garden’s conservation and interpretation. The Trust believes that community efforts over the past sixty years to protect an important historic garden will be squandered if a new development is allowed to impact significant trees bordering Runnymede’s carriage drive and intrude on Runnymede’s visual curtilage. The proposed development at 65 Bay Road is inappropriate in its high impact on Runnymede, an item of Tasmania’s historic heritage.

 

 

A wide image of Runnymede house, a sprawling single story home amongst lush heritage gardens. Mount Wellington can be seen in the background.