The owner of an iconic heritage-listed home in Brisbane has been fined $10,000 for removing asbestos roof sheeting without council approval.
The owner of an iconic heritage-listed home in Brisbane has been fined $10,000 for removing asbestos roof sheeting without council approval.

Doctor fined for historic home changes

The owner of an iconic heritage-listed home in Brisbane has been fined $10,000 for removing asbestos roof sheeting without council approval.

Dr Laura Anne Althaus, owner of Wynnum's "Tower House" on Kingsley Terrace, appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court this morning.

She had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of carry out assessable development without permit.

Tower House in Wynnum. Picture: Renae Droop
Tower House in Wynnum. Picture: Renae Droop

 

The court heard Dr Alhaus removed the asbestos roof sheeting sometime between October 1 and December 14 in 2019.

As a result parts of the home were exposed to the elements for eight months until it was replaced, the court heard.

Magistrate Athol Kennedy said Dr Althaus had unsuccessfully applied to Brisbane City Council for a DA allowing the home's demolition on three occasions.

An appeal in the Planning and Environment Court was refused and a second one discontinued, he said.

Mr Kennedy said the removal of the roof sheeting constituted an assessable development but Dr Althaus failed to apply for a development permit prior to it being removed.

"It is conceded by the council that if you had applied for the relevant approval, it probably would have been approved subject to certain conditions," he said.

Internal windowsill at Tower House in Wynnum. Picture: Renae Droop
Internal windowsill at Tower House in Wynnum. Picture: Renae Droop

 

Council has argued Dr Althaus' conduct was "at least reckless and negligent" pushing for a fine of $20,000 to $25,000.

Her barrister Matt Jackson submitted a fine of $10,000 or less was appropriate.

The "Tower House", which looks out over Moreton Bay, was built in 1921 for businessman and philanthropist John Darnell.

Council considers it "is an intact illustration of interwar architecture in Wynnum".

Dr Althaus bought the home for $1.3 million in 2015, according to property records.

Dr Althaus’ husband Nathan who wanted to demolish the home because of poor condition. Picture: Renae Droop
Dr Althaus’ husband Nathan who wanted to demolish the home because of poor condition. Picture: Renae Droop

 

The home was listed as a local heritage place in November 2019.

Dr Althaus' husband Nathan told the Courier Mail in 2019 that he respected the home's history but said the place was "all coming apart".

Magistrate Kennedy fined Dr Althaus $10,000 but did not record a conviction.

Originally published as 'Reckless and negligent': Doctor fined for historic home works