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New quote to move historic Urrbrae gatehouse

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The Transport Department has received a new, more comprehensive quote to relocate a state heritage-listed gatehouse at Urrbrae rather than demolish it – but the figure is being kept secret for now.

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Urrbrae gatehouse

An independent engineering firm initially quoted around $1 million to shift the 130-year-old gatehouse, however Transport and Infrastructure Department officials said they believed the real cost would be more than $3 million.

The department sought a new quote from the company – Mammoth Movers – to include all necessary associated works with the relocation.

A spokesperson for Transport Minister Corey Wingard confirmed the department had received the new quote but wouldn’t give any more details, saying it was “commercial in confidence”.

Wingard last year backed his department’s decision to demolish the gatehouse on the corner of Cross Road and Fullarton Road as part of a $61 million upgrade of the intersection – despite advice that it’s possible to move the building.

The gatehouse sits on the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus and is linked to its Urrbrae House historic precinct.

The university has vowed to fight the land takeover and demolition by pursuing its “legal rights under the compulsory acquisition process” – and is now considering an offer from the State Government to move the building itself, despite describing it as “passing the buck”.

The government last month offered the university $2 million it had set aside for state heritage projects – in addition to about $2 million in compensation it will receive through the acquisition process – to move the gatehouse.

Wingard’s spokesperson told InDaily the offer was still with the university for consideration and “we expect them to come back to us next month”.

A university spokesperson said: “The university, the department (DIT), and Mammoth Movers are still in discussion regarding the scope and costs associated with relocating the gatehouse. For that reason, the university is yet to respond to the government’s offer.”

Mammoth Movers managing director Matt Manifold declined to comment, saying he was bound by confidentiality.

The department’s decision to demolish the gatehouse has faced strong community and political opposition, with a rally last month attracting nearly 1000 protestors.

A rally at the Urrbrae gatehouse last month.
Photo: Ron Bellchambers

The government has come under pressure from two of its own MPs, saying “it’s heritage-listed for a reason” and “worthy of further consideration to either keep or restore”.

Davenport MP Steve Murray told InDaily in December that “subject to cost and further detail” he was “supportive of maintaining the building”.

“I’m in favour of – assuming it’s possible and it’s not exorbitantly expensive – retaining the building,” he said at the time.

“It’s heritage-listed – it’s heritage-listed for a reason. I’d be supportive of it being maintained if that’s indeed possible.”

Liberal MP for Chaffey and former minister Tim Whetstone told InDaily: “I think it’s a building worthy of further consideration to either keep or restore.”

Premier Steven Marshall last month said “there may be an opportunity” to relocate the gatehouse if the university can find a “purpose” for it.

The university has previously said it would ultimately “depend on the appetite of the government” whether the gatehouse would be saved.

Environment Minister David Speirs has refused to comment on the heritage value of the gatehouse or whether it should be protected.

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