A push to protect the dilapidated Rockingham Hotel from being demolished has been rejected by WA’s Heritage Council. Proposals to demolish the Rockingham Hotel and downgrade its local heritage listing to enable redevelopment were lodged by its new owner, Foreshore Group, with the City of Rockingham last month. In a bid to preserve the 125-year-old pub, Rockingham Museum curator and historian Wendy Durant nominated the hotel for listing on the State Register of Heritage Places, but the move has been rejected by the Heritage Council. Ms Durant was disappointed the hotel would not be added to the State Register. “It’s definitely worth being listed on there,” she said. “And it should not be removed (from the local heritage list). The owners are asking for it to be removed from the A category, that was their first submission ... and it can’t be removed from there because it is the most significant building in the Rockingham beach area, or in Rockingham.” The Heritage Council of WA told directors of Foreshore Group in writing the hotel would not be added to the register. A Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage spokesperson said the letter stated that, based on the information presented to the Heritage Council, the Rockingham Hotel “is unlikely to have the cultural heritage significance required for meeting the condition for entry in the State Register of Heritage Places” and so “did not warrant further assessment”. “While Rockingham Hotel is one of the earliest remnants of the phase of Rockingham’s history in which it had a pivotal role in the timber industry, and thus contributed to the economic development of the State, initial analysis indicates that there are other places in Western Australia that also reflect this period and address the same themes more efficiently,” the spokesperson said. The hotel was added to the register for an interim period in 2008 but it did not progress to permanent registration and was removed in 2011. Foreshore Group director Hugh McLernon said the Heritage Council’s decision supported the owners’ position that the hotel was “simply not an A category heritage place” and believed the City of Rockingham would take the decision into account when assessing their application to downgrade its local heritage listing from category A to C. Mr McLernon said if his company received approval to demolish the hotel, they would keep some heritage items that would be featured at a new pub proposed as the first stage of redeveloping the site, to be run by hospitality heavyweights Three Pound Group. “We’re not saying ‘forget about this dump, just knock it over’. That’s not our position at all,” he said. “Our position is and has always been, it’s historically significant, it deserves to be conserved. And we have suggested because of all of the things that have happened to it, that the best way to conserve its heritage as distinct from its mere historical importance is to do so by interpreting it, to use the wording of the Heritage Council’s conservation policy, not just in some museum or some other place, but on that very site, in a tavern.” Mr McLernon said that could include using timber and limestone from the current hotel in the new build and displaying old photos and videos from there and other parts of the larger site, including the Trocadero Dance Hall. “Anything that we can do to say ‘hey, this is the successor of a very long running tavern or hotel, which unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore’,” he said. City of Rockingham mayor Deb Hamblin said the Heritage Council decision did not change the Rockingham Hotel’s status on the city’s local heritage survey and heritage list. Ms Hamblin said the city was currently assessing Foreshore Group’s applications “with the assistance of expert advice, against the requirements of the local planning framework”. The date when the council will consider the applications has not yet been determined.