Development threatens historic Anambah House

ONE of the Hunter’s most significant heritage homes, Anambah House near Maitland, faces   residential development on a scale its owner says is  far too dense and will threaten its  character.

Tomorrow Maitland City Council will consider a proposal to allow  80 lots to be developed in the Anambah urban release area.

 The development would bring houses to about 650 metres from the state-listed heritage house, owned by Jann Zappacosta.

Mrs Zappacosta bought the JWPender-designed house in 2011 from well-known heritage consultant Stephen Berry, who long-campaigned to protect the Anambah Lagoon, which the house overlooks, from development.

Mrs Zappacosta said under the plan the lagoon would be ‘‘lost’’ because of the closeness of the new houses.

A report to the council says the land will be developed as low density.

It says flooding and changes to the visual amenity are the two biggest constraints to the site. Plans show landscaping is intended to soften the impact on the house.

Mrs Zappacosta said 50 houses would have been suitable but 80 was too many.

The council report said the proposal  supported the provision of housing for Maitland’s growing population.

Mrs Zappacosta is restoring the house for accommodation, weddings and other  events.

Anambah House was built by grazier John KMackay for his son William. 

Construction began in 1889 and ended in 1906.

Opera diva Dame Nellie Melba sang Home Sweet Home on the staircase in 1908, and Australian performers of the 1950s, such as Roy (Mo) Rene and Jack Davey were guests of the then-owners, radio star Hal Lashwood and his wife, a member of the Mackay family.

In 1993 it was the setting for the movie Country Life, starring Greta Scacchi and Sam Neill.

Mrs Zappacosta said another bigger proposed development to the west was also putting pressure on the house.

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