Clive Lucas, who took over the trust presidency last month, told The Advertiser Parramatta had to be careful of overdevelopment.
“I do think the Parramatta domain and that land where the hospital and jail is, should be seen as a sacrosanct site. Parkland, that breathing space, is so important,” he said.
“Historic buildings are all capable of being converted into other uses. The Powerhouse Museum for example, could be incorporated to be built in that area,” he said.
Dr Lucas was a founder of the conservation architectural firm Clive Lucas, Stapleton and Partners.
He is the former chair of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW, Australia ICOMOS and the Furniture History Society (Australasia).
Dr Lucas played a role in the conservation of some of the most significant buildings in Australia, including Elizabeth Bay House and the Hyde Park Barracks.
He said his new role would see him take a keen interest in Parramatta.
“If Parramatta is going to preserve its identity, it needs to have its historic buildings. The National Trust will keep an eye on what’s going on and where appropriate make a protest. It’s not just about preserving the historic buildings but also to preserve around them,” he said.
Speaking about the State Government’s North Parramatta development, Dr Lucas said it should remain as open space.
“I am certainly against building tall buildings there in North Parramatta but I think the old buildings there should be converted to something else.
“The rest of Parramatta is naturally going to grow. The problem is many of the early colonial buildings are small in scale and they look a bit stupid if you build tall skyscrapers beside them.”
He said zoning around historic buildings should take into account their heritage.
“The council should put guidelines in place to preserve the surroundings of the buildings and provide a buffer zone or allow for some sympathetic development,” Dr Lucas said.