LONDON, ONT. -- London’s Advisory Committee on Heritage (LACH) unanimously recommends preservation of a 130-year-old barn in Byron that collapsed under unexplained circumstances in December.

“Condition of a building has no bearing on whether it gets designated or not. No building is beyond repair,” says LACH member Mike Bloxam.

In a new report, a heritage planner at city hall responds to a demolition request submitted by the owner of 247 Hall’s Mill Road.

The planner recommends both buildings on the property be protected with heritage designations under the Ontario Heritage Act.

The unusually ornate barn is a landmark in the neighbourhood, and dates back to European settlement in Byron.

Neighbours contacted city hall in September when metal sheeting disappeared from the rear half of the roof, exposing the timber framing to the elements. City staff visited the property and spoke to the owner.

“Concerned neighbours got in touch with the city. It was put to a stop, but apparently it started up again even after city officials had been out,” says Bloxam.

Neighbours again contacted the municipal building department after the Dec. 11 collapse, and according to the heritage planner’s report, “indicated that the property owner had continued to remove exterior boards from the structure during the day on Dec. 10."

The owner of the property has declined to be interviewed. He is also facing a make-safe order issued by an inspector with the building department.

LACH’s recommendation will be forwarded to city hall’s Planning and Environment Committee for a public meeting about the demolition request on Jan. 20.