The Strathfield-Homebush District Historical Society has become aware of the proposed auction of ‘Arnott Holme’, 65-69 Albert Road Strathfield by estate agents, Belle Property.  Until recently, this property was a Technical and Further Education (TAFE) education office, which is owned by the NSW Government. This property was purchased in 1954 for £12,000 by the NSW Department of Education for the purposes of establishing a school for disabled children. Though the use of the premises later changed to a TAFE education office, the property has been maintained in the Strathfield area for nearly 70 years as a public educational institution.

it is obvious from the response of many concerned local residents that there has been no community consultation regarding the sale of this publicly owned asset. 
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on October 28 2021 that up to 19 TAFE campuses across NSW have been earmarked for sale.  The Strathfield property was not mentioned in the article or other public reporting.  Therefore, the erection of an auction notice on the site, has generated significant public concern about the future of the property and the privatisation of a publicly owned asset.  

Given the increases in population and demand for community facilities in the Strathfield area, why is the NSW Government able to sell off public assets without any notification, any apparent consideration about potential community uses of the property or any consultation with the local community?  These assets were acquired and have been maintained from public funding. If TAFE no longer needs the facility, why not commence discussions with other public agencies or Strathfield Council regarding utilisation of the property for community use? 

The property has significant historical and heritage value to the local community.  It is a heritage item listed on Strathfield Council’s Local Environmental Plan and is recognised by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Register of Significant Buildings in NSW as an item of historical and heritage significance.    

‘Arnott Holme’ was built in 1900 as a home for its owner William Arnott, founder of Arnott’s Biscuits, Australia’s largest biscuit company.  The Federation style house occupies a large site set within a mature garden landscape.  After Arnott’s death and until it was sold in 1954 to the Department of Education, it was owned and/or occupied by a number of prominent residents including Harry Jackett MP and Arthur Cozens, a tobacco merchant.  

The Society has sent a letter to the Member for Parliament for Strathfield, Jason Yat Sen-Li, requesting representations are made to the NSW Government and Department of Education regarding this process, which appears to have not included any transparency regarding the closure of the TAFE office and plans for disposal of a public asset.

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