High rise developments challenge the character of Heritage suburbs.

In recent years there has been a growing trend amongst developers to purchase former ‘Industry Zoned’ buildings in inner city locations such as South Melbourne, Brunswick and Port Melbourne – and up they go! The simple fact is that is where the money is, but at what cost to the community, our heritage and our lifestyles?

It’s interesting to consider what is happening and where. The CBD of Melbourne is creeping outwards. The area of South Melbourne bounded by Whiteside St, City Road, St Kilda Rd and Ferrars St has seen intensive renewal over the last 10 years. Older warehouses have been usurped by the Crown Casino facility and various high rise apartment towers. Older buildings utilised by motor traders, furniture retailers and converted studio and office facilities were replaced by towers of up to 30 storeys. The boundary seemingly of this development was the southern end of the City of Melbourne.
Development does have an insatiable appetite. So it is not surprising to see sites appearing with building approvals further up the hill in South Melbourne, part of the Port Phillip Council region.

In Dorcas St, Developers successfully challenged the Council’s height restriction, gaining approval for an eight storey building. The former building, a terrace, was deemed to be a replica and sanctioned for complete demolition. Importantly, the new development, once completed is directly behind the historic South Melbourne Town Hall, with buildings in between no longer receiving sunlight for up to 6 hours per day.. On the Urban Melbourne website it nominates this project as an important construction marker for South Melbourne.

Here is the full article…

The heart of South Melbourne is seeing increased development activity as a swag of projects look to use the turn of 2016 as an important construction marker. Emerald Hill as it was once known serves as the heart of the suburb and has traditionally been been subject to limited low and medium-rise developments relative to its loftier neighbours in Southbank.

Developers and apartment buyers alike have been seeking out the stretch of South Melbourne west of Clarendon Street, with no less than six apartment project builds on the go which will in time add 430 new apartments to the area.

Market Street is front and centre for the moment with ITUM’s The Walker most advanced in its construction. While it is approaching structural completion the adjoining site which is subject to Teri Apartments is at bulk excavation. Combined these two projects will add approximately 260 apartments to ‘old’ South Melbourne.

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Directly opposite the two above yet technically in Southbank, 80 Market Street will also shortly receive a Maben-badged tower crane for the purpose of delivering a new commercial building designed by Billard Leece Partnership.

Push further into South Melbourne and Trio Construct have begun preliminary works on Lt. York while Figurehead will also begin works on the adjoining site at 274 Coventry Street for the purpose of a seven level mixed-use development which includes 37 apartments.

Dorcas Street holds three upcoming projects at varying stages of delivery. Evolve Development’s Jewel apartment project is as basement level with LU Simon undertaking the build while the adjoining 240-242 Dorcas Street is also poised to begin construction at the hand of builder Trimont.

Waiting in the wings is Piccolo Developments’ 228 Dorcas Street which gained approval via VCAT during November, and is expected to advance to sales this year.

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The spike in apartment activity within Emerald Hill may raise questions about the erosion of sorts of the area’s unique character, with the current number of builds the highest recorded in the area. It does bear mentioning that 228 Dorcas Street aside, there are no other projects within the old Emerald Hill within the Urban Melbourne project database.

Source: Urban Melbourne

The website is unabashedly pro-development.

Considering South Melbourne is perhaps one of the last vestiges of early Melbourne’s heritage and history, this appears to be a worrying trend.

But it’s not restricted to inner Melbourne. The pure mathematics of high rise development ensures that developers are persistently pushing the boundaries – from Moonee Ponds to Box Hill, from Flemington to Cheltenham, it’s a reoccurring theme. Single dwellings on large allotments are replaced by multiple dwellings in ‘garden settings’. Former manufacturing sites, carparks, and old Hotels make way for multilevel apartment blocks.

In Box Hill, the company that runs the Box Hill Central Shopping Centre has had a significant victory. This is the shopping centre above the Box Hill Station. The company wants to build skyscrapers above the station.

The company that runs Box Hill Central shopping centre has had a big win in its bid to build skyscrapers above the suburb’s bustling railway station.
And Whitehorse Council, which had hoped to restrict high-rise development, has been handed a damning rejection by a panel of expert government planning advisers.

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Box Hill is undergoing one of the biggest building booms in Melbourne’s history, as the city’s population expands to an expected 8 million by 2050.

Dozens of towers, some rising to as high as 36 levels, have been built or approved over the past five years.

To bring order to the boom, Whitehorse Council applied to Planning Minister Richard Wynne to alter rules for the suburb to cap tower heights at 30 storeys – or 90 metres – and contain them in a “major development precinct” surrounding Whitehorse Road.

But Planning Panels Victoria, which ran public hearings into the proposal in July, have found in a report to Mr Wynne that Whitehorse Council’s proposed Box Hill height limits lack “strategic rigour” given the importance of the area to Melbourne’s future.

The panel said the council’s proposed planning guidelines were unusable.

“The panel could find no identifiable rationale for the heights proposed,” their report said.

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“The proposed preferred heights are not based on a well-founded understanding of the future urban form for the centre.”

While it lashed the council, Planning Panels Victoria called on Vicinity – owner of Box Hill Central shopping centre – to “develop a comprehensive proposal for its land and then prepare an appropriate suite of planning controls to facilitate and guide development”.

Vicinity Centres owns Box Hill Central, two shopping centres close to the railway and bus stations.

It also owns half of the country’s biggest shopping centre, Chadstone.

The centre operator wants to redevelop its properties into high-rise towers and had criticised Whitehorse Council’s attempts to impose 15-storey height limits on its land.

Vicinity has accused the council of trying to “frustrate” the site’s potential in a suburb earmarked in state government plans for major development since 1954.

Booming Box Hill was described in July by real estate agency Savills as the city’s hottest property market.

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The council defended its plan, and said the panel’s report was “emotively written”.

Whitehorse mayor Denise Massoud said its findings could limit the ability of councils to plan for the residents they were meant to represent.

“Councillors around the state are starting to question how much influence they can exercise on behalf of their communities,” Cr Massoud said.

Cr Massoud said the council had tried to manage the heights of towers and “maximise positive outcomes” for residents.

This approach had not been accepted, she said.

A spokesman for Mr Wynne said it was the council’s job to assess the panel report and decide if it wanted to adopt or abandon the plan.

Source: The Age, October 18th, 2017

In Brunswick, opposite Princess Park

Brunswick will see its tallest apartment complex emerge yet – this time opposite Princes Park – as the hipster postcode joins a string of Melbourne suburbs quickly soaring upwards.

Building could commence this year on a 13-level, 6000-square metre development bound by Park Street, Sydney Road and Brunswick Road (now the site of the Best Western Princes Park Motor Inn) if the proposal is approved on schedule.

It comes as Melbourne’s suburbs continue to grow taller and denser, with apartment towers approved at increasing heights and suburban developers allowed to squeeze more townhouses on a block.

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Comprising three buildings with 333 apartments, 699 Park Street is expected to be Brunswick’s tallest apartment tower, at an estimated 42 metres high. The tallest tower under construction is a 14-level, 40.8-metre tower on the corner of Sydney Road and Albert Street.

But developer JWLand says the Princes Park project will be the “polar opposite” of the Albert Street development, and the other investor-focused towers springing up in the suburb, given it will almost exclusively target Brunswick’s hip and cashed up young professionals and families with larger-sized apartments.

“We’re targeting those that are currently living in the area — they might be renters but want to buy their first home,” head of development Nick Weeks said. The project will also include a large childcare centre, dining and retail.

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Mr Weeks, also behind the once-controversial Tip Top development in Brunswick East, said JWLand was working closely with Moreland Council, which had embraced taller buildings on the site.

“The planning scheme is actually specifically designed to encourage higher density and higher buildings,” he said, adding the design would set the tallest part of the building back from the street.

Last year, the state government knocked back the council’s push for mandatory height controls. Brunswick Residents Network’s Joanna Stanley said the community wanted mandatory limits that did not exceed 10 levels. “Brunswick residents don’t support the 13 and the 14 level heights,” she said.

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Source: The Domain, March 18th, 2017

This type of development is now being rolled out seemingly unfettered – unless of course you happen to live in Boroondara.

(From 2015)

Sixty square kilometres of inner Melbourne locked away from major development

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Major development in Melbourne’s inner east has been restricted, right after the state government announced that it will revise Plan Melbourne, a long-term planning strategy that looks forward to 2050.

Sixty square kilometres of inner suburban Melbourne have been locked away from significant development after the state government passed legislation containing a range of restrictions put forward by the City of Boroondara. Three storey limits have been applied to a large number of commercial precints within the area.

The municipality covers 60 square kilometres of Melbourne’s inner east, and includes established suburbs such as Kew, Camberwell, Balywyn and Hawthorn. The suburbs all sit within 15km of the CBD, and the median house prices exceed $1.5m.

The amendments limit building heights to 11 metres in commercial precincts in areas such as East Camberwell, Canterbury, Mont Albert and Surrey Hills.

Other areas such as Church Street in Hawthorn – 6km from the CBD – and Cotham Road in Kew allow buildings up to a maximum of 14.5 metres, or approximately four storeys.

Paul Donegan, author of City Limits: Why Australia’s cities are broken and how we can fix them, said that the decision by Boroondara City Council was “disappointing.”

“What we’re seeing in Melbourne at the moment is that there’s a big divide between where people live and where people work,” he said.

“That divide leads to congestion, puts pressure on family time, leads to a widening gap in access to opportunity and holds back city productivity.”

“Decisions like that made by the City of Boroondara make that divide worse,” he said.

Amendments to the Boroondara Council’s planning scheme were approved by the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, on Thursday 9 April.

Mr Wynne recently announced that the government would be revising Plan Melbourne, a planning strategy extending to 2050, and reconvening the ministerial advisory committee previously involved in the project. Members of the committee indicated that the development of inner suburbs of Melbourne would be a strong focus in the new plan.

Source: Architecture AU

But as was evidenced in our blog a fortnight ago, there other ways to evade those pesky planning requirements. Buy a mansion, fully restored in Federation style for $9.16 million, knock it down for multiple occupancy and reap a return of 17.5 million on an empty block.

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As we already stated it’s now time for a Planning Summit. There is a need not only to coordinate the actions of all participants (Government, Council, VCAT, National Trust, Heritage Victoria), gain significant and meaningful input from Architects, Historians, Developers and builders, but also to consider community input on the social effect of creating sky cities.

There is a development boom occurring in Melbourne. It simply requires legislated checks and balances that enable Councils to present their vision, to ensure the overall vision for Melbourne and its nearby regional cities expressed by Planning Victoria reflects both the best interests and the wishes of the communities it purports to represent.

As Joni Mitchell sang many years ago…

Don’t it always seem to go
that you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone
Paved paradise and put up a parking lot

Preserve our heritage, protect our history, ensure we remember the visions of our forefathers who created those wide avenues and broad parklands, because when it’s gone, it’s gone.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

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Heritage and Restoration – How it can be done

This week we feature a more positive review. We start to look at some of the more interesting restorations and Heritage renovations in and around Melbourne and we take a quick peek at one of the hidden remnants of Old Melbourne’s past – smack in the middle of Port Phillip Bay.

Metropolitan Meat Market

In recent years a number of relatively non-descript older buildings in Melbourne have been restored and featured as modern venues, suitable for events, dinners and other similar purposes.

The first such venue is the old Melbourne Meat Market. Originally built by the ‘Victorian Meat Market Company’ in 1870 it defined the new boom times in its grand edifices and halls.

Melbourne Architect George R Johnson prepared sketches suitable for the changing face of the trade. It was commissioned for construction by Mr William Reginalds, coincidentally the Mayor of Hotham (North Melbourne, a successful and notable figure in the meat trade of the times).

The building was used continually as a Meat Market up until 1974 when it was acknowledged that the grand building no longer served its purpose of servicing the meat and butchery trade. With no space for extra and required refrigeration, the stall holders began to move on to more purpose built premises.

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Arts Victoria purchased the building in 1979. In 1985 the building was renamed ‘Meat Market Craft Centre’. This changed in 1998 when the venue was again renamed. It now became the ‘Metro Craft Centre’. At the time it began to be used a a Performing Arts Venue.

The building was substantially renovated in 2002-03. At the time it was over a century old. After the renovation it was for the main part managed by the City of Melbourne. The Council’s ‘Art House’ brand managed the venue. The buildings were presented as creative development and presentation space.

As of 2015 the Meat Market became a venue in its own rite. Over 30 art businesses operate from the venue to this day.

As a venue for a variety of event style functions the Meat Market can seat 600 people for a formal dinner. Dine in a first grade heritage listed building restored and fully maintained to feature its 19th Century grandeur. The cobblestone floor and barrel vault ceiling leave you with a sense that the next sound you may hear is the clip-clop of horses hooves and carts – pass the shiraz please.

It is a perfect illustration of how to retain heritage buildings that have been degraded over time.

Given what has happened recently, this iconic building could easily have ended up another pile of ‘Corkman’ style rubble without sensible intervention – from the City of Melbourne and originally Arts Victoria. It demonstrates that in many cases, it is imperative that Government intervenes.

The second venue is less spectacular externally but demonstrates a clever use of a large unused space in an intelligent creative manner. Located at 135-157 Racecourse Rd Kensington just prior to the on ramp to Citylink heading west its an unobtrusive brick building constructed post World War II in 1945-46. It was an armaments factory owned by Barge Bros. The building was designed by C.T. Gilbertson. It has been a spring factory, a foundry and then housed the complete wardrobe and props for the ‘Pharlap’ movie filmed nearby at Flemington Racecourse.

This is a unique building. Outside is rectilinear, Art Deco reminiscent of the Dutch Modernist William Dudok. However inside the factory features an immense curved roof with arches spanning 30 meters. The arches are glue-laminated Coachwood, 29 sections creating an open column-free area. This is of significant heritage value from a scientific and architectural viewpoint for Victoria, being the first time such a method was used to create open space..

And the venue now known as the Pavilion takes full advantage of this unique feature, seating 200-600 people for a unique sit-down dining experience in open style.

Finally for this bulletin we take a boat trip to the mouth of Port Phillip Bay. Here we find some of the ‘forgotten’ history of Victoria and its capital Melbourne. Man made islands for fortifications to repel invaders still stand guard. There were two forts. One is known as the Pope’s Eye. It is now protected in a Marine Reserve. It was constructed in the 1880s by Sir William Jervios. The island was formed by dumping bluestone boulders on a submerged sand bar in 12 meters of water.

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It was never completed as naval advances in weaponry meant hostile ships could now be bombarded from the gunneries on Swan Island and on nearby Fort Queenscliff. It’s an interesting location with remnants of gun positions and living quarters still intact. Take a boat out on the weekend and sample the rather eerie feeling of stepping foot into the past directly.

 

It was complimented by a second man-made island – the South Channel Fort. Between 1890 and 1916 over 100 officers and men lived on the island. It was abandoned for the same reason. 14,000 tonnes of bluestone boulders, concrete and sand were used in its construction. There are strong remnants of its military past there with ‘disappearing’ gun mechanisms still in situation.

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There was an underground living area called a ‘keep’ with a labyrinth of passages, small lobbies, magazines and a fully functional kitchen. From this island fortress the mines for the minefield in the South West Channel were stored and tested. Minefield?? Can you believe it?

Both locations were established to ward off ‘the enemy’. In those days Victoria had a navy. And Russia and France were our enemies. Rule Brittania! Oh and we also welcomed the US Confederate Navy at the time.

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US Confederate Navy ship Shenandoah docked in Melbourne in 1865

All of this lends to our colourful historic past. We are fortunate in that many historic homes and buildings, indeed locations, have been preserved for posterity. We feature a number of these today photographically in this blog, and if you choose to, you can read about nearly all of them in previous blogs we have published.

This isn’t the time to back down and permit the destruction of our heritage and history. There are no good reasons to demolish buildings so rich in history, beauty and a timeless sense of being. At Balance we say protect and preserve our past. And if anyone does transgress the law, then let them be forced to restore the damage they cause. No more Corkmans, no more cultural vandalism – heritage is owned by all of us.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

The Developers ruse – “Knock ‘em down”

The Corkman Irish Pub demolition (formerly the Carlton Inn) represents a rather unsavoury tactic of Developers. It’s certainly not new, but it surely was and is the most blatant example of the tactic in question, or is it? This week we look at sanctioned demolitions in St Kilda – The Greyhound Hotel, and a magnificent Residential home of grand proportions in Kew.

The tactic is to skin a property back to bare bones – land freehold. Before any further action can be taken, the ‘Developers’ must remove the existing building and structures. For those with no sense of history, heritage or beauty this makes perfect sense. It enables a clean palette from which a simple land sale through to a multi storied tower or multiple dwellings can then proceed.

Older Heritage style buildings are expensive to maintain. They are often in need of drastic repairs and maintenance. Quite often developers will let a building deteriorate to the point it simply cannot be repaired or restored, thus justifying its demolition. Buildings left derelict are pilfered for copper, lead and other materials sourced from plumbing, electricals and even decorative features.

The Larundel Asylum building in Bundoora has suffered this fate. Basically it would be very difficult to restore. [URL previous]

Look at the result in St Kilda where the Greyhound Hotel, a building 160 years old, was destroyed by the wreckers hammer, and excavators tearing down the historic hotel opposite the St Kilda Town Hall in May this year.

The Port Phillip Council (who operate from the St Kilda Town Hall) requested the Victorian Planning Minister Mr Richard Wynne to add the building to the Heritage list of Victoria. He refused. It is interesting to note that this is in fact the same Planning Minister who has orchestrated $1 million in fines against the rogue Corkman developers.

So what was different? The company that owned the Greyhound HAD a planning permit to demolish the building and erect an eight storey apartment block.

It’s a similar scenario with the destruction of the historical London Hotel in Port Melbourne demolished in April this year.

Quite simply, the local Council had waited until after permits for demolition and building were granted before applying for Heritage Listings. This is simply shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.

The Heritage Policy is unclear and easily manipulated by those with a profit motive. Compare the situation to Amsterdam where owners of historic buildings can apply for substantial grants to restore, maintain, or in character redevelop such a building.

The answer is that in Melbourne, there is a clear disconnect between valuing heritage and actually funding heritage. No one wants to accept the financial responsibility.

As well it sometimes takes public action to push Local Government into acting. This happened with both the Greyhound Hotel and the London Hotel – but too late.

“The Council’s position is that the State Government planning and heritage policies has too little regard for ‘socially significant’ buildings like the Greyhound Hotel”

The Age – May 11th

The Greyhound Hotel was originally built in 1853 and in 1938 was remodelled in an Art Deco style. This undermined its claim to be considered an ‘historical building’. Originally as its name suggests a ‘sporting’ pub for workers, the first Licensee, a MR John Broad was an eager promoter of holiday race meetings for Greyhounds. The ‘sport’ involved ‘coursing’ where greyhounds would hunt down an ill fated rabbit, the winner being the dog that killed the unfortunate bunny. Different times!

It had a number of Famous local (and infamous) licensees from 1865 to 1886.

During its time of renovation (1938) many hotels Australia-wide were renovated, the renovations dating from the 1920s through to the 1940s. In the 1980s the hotel became the focal point of Melbourne’s ‘Drag’ subculture. It was a popular music venue with weekly ‘drag’ revues until its final demise in January 2017.

But look! No apartments! The developers did not proceed with the ‘Eight Storey Tower’. Instead the block is for Sale, priced at $7 million! Now that’s quite a clever gamble on the $2 million paid in 2006 for the high profile drag venue and gay bar! All legal mind you, all legal. It should be said there was considerable opposition from Council to extend the hotel’s hours, based on residents objections.

The same type of ‘renovation’ applied to the Greyhound occurred at the London Hotel in the 1930s, debarring it well from Heritage Listing.

Finally we look at what can only be described as a tragedy in Kew.

Two Chinese investors purchased the home of former Hawthorn Football Club (AFL) President – Andrew Newbold – for a cool $9.16 million. They had a grand plan – bulldoze the home and offer it as a ‘clean block’ for $17.5 million, its current listing.

What drove the action was the State Government’s ‘Plan Melbourne’ Blueprint which has removed the cap on how many dwellings can be built on a block, replacing it with mandatory garden space ‘requirements’. With Council approval, the site can now be developed into multiple dwellings and advertised as such.

The original home was a stunning, authentic and restored Federation house located on one of Melbourne’s most valuable streets.

Council (Baroondara) had campaigned heavily against the now legislated changes, alas unsuccessfully. The demolished home was fully renovated by its interior designer part owner – Mrs Newbold. This included many of its period features as well as its stately facade.

There is a lot of blame and fingerpointing currently occurring between the various City Councils and the State Government. In a nutshell its time for it to stop, for a cooperative and collaborative approach to be devised with the State Government, Local Councils, the National Trust and other relevant bodies forming a commission and conferencing to establish workable Heritage laws that not only consider the building elements but also the social and historical implications.

Enough is enough.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

The Illegal Destruction of One of Carlton’s Oldest Buildings – The Corkman Hotel (formerly the Carlton Inn), circa 1856

The Corkman Irish Pub was demolished illegally without planning or heritage approval on the weekend of the 15th and 16th of October, 2016. Formerly known as the ‘Carlton Inn’ it was, prior to demolition, one of the oldest buildings in Carlton, having been built in 1856. Originally a quarter acre allotment on the corner of Leicester and Pelham Streets, a Mr R Hepburn purchased it in 1853 and then subsequently subdivided the crown allotment into smaller 70ft x 70ft allotments. Construction of the hotel commenced in 1856 with the hotel trading in 1857 licensed to a Mr George Edmonds.

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The Carlton Inn Hotel, 1957

The City of Melbourne Heritage Overlay described the building as follows –

Historically significant as one of the earliest extant buildings in this part of Carlton, which has undergone substantial change since the time of its original construction in 1857. The Carlton Inn is of historical significance as a good example of the Victorian Period. The facade is relatively plain and generally indicative of the early to mid Victorian period, though the parapet may date to the later Victorian period. The facade has a stucco finish but the original corner section may be partly stone.

Property Developers Stefce Kutlesovski, Raman Shaqiri and their company 160 Leicester Pty Ltd face 16 charges laid by the Victorian Building Authority and the Melbourne City Council.

Council has accused the parties of demolishing a building without a permit, ignoring a stop work order, and carry out demolition whilst unregistered and in breach of planning laws.

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Penalties for the offences range from $3000 to $388,000, with Planning Minister Richard Wynne stating the developers could face fines of more than $1 million in total, at the time of the demolition.

Builders rubble containing Asbestos from the site was found dumped in the open by the EPA at Cairnlea in Melbourne’s western suburbs, uncovered and unprotected. The EPA fined the developers $7500. As of January 2017, the EPA has issued a total of $31,000 in fines for non-compliance against the Developers. At the time the developer owners informed the Victorian Government they would rebuild the pub. That was then.

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The building was destroyed by Shaq Demolitions and Excavations. The business is half owned by Raman Shaqiri. In essence the company that paid $4.76 million for the pub in August 2014 half owned the demolition company.

Raman Shaqiri holds both a valid demolition license and a current building license, issued by the Victorian Building Authority. One could possibly deduce that Mr Shaquiri essentially thumbed his nose at the authority and its regulations.

The Union Movement through the Trades Hall Council and the CMFEU have imposed Green Bans on the site of the demolished building, the first such bans in over a decade.

The Developers have ‘dug in’ hiring top ‘Silk’ Stuart Morris QC, a top planning barrister, to represent them.

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Initially the Developers had sent a letter to Planning Minister Richard Wynne conceding their fault, saying they had ‘breached faith with the community and made very serious errors of judgement’. They undertook to immediately restore the building at their expense. But they didn’t.

In June 2017 the Developers commenced action in the Supreme Court, suing the Planning Minister Richard Wynne, in a further bid to build a high rise construction on the site. Success would see the land purchased for $4.76 Million in 2014 ($1.56 Million above its reserve) revalued at $10 Million; Not hard to see the driving force here.

Mr Wynne will appear and defend the Supreme Court action. In his statements Mr Wynne has reiterated the Government’s requirement for a rebuild and compliance with the requirements of the Victorian Building Authority, the City of Melbourne and the Environmental Protection Authority. The order stipulates that as much of the original materials as is possible should be used in the rebuild.

For their part Mr Shaqiri and Mr Kutlesovski now seek the overturning of Planning Minister Wynne’s rulings – based on the fact the demolition ‘received extensive media coverage’. They argue Mr Wynne acted with ‘ulterior purpose’ of seeking to punish them – the implication being he did so for political purposes and gain.

Further they say Mr Wynne ‘failed to give them adequate opportunity to be heard’ or ‘to observe the rules of natural justice’.

If successful, the pair can expect the 40m height limit to be restored to the site, allowing for a 13 storey building on the site. Interestingly, preliminary drawings by CHT Architects have emerged of a 12 storey building the developers were planning for the Corkman site.

The Age, July 20th 2017

In VCAT a separate case brought by the Planning Minister Mr Wynne seeks an order forcing the pair to rebuild. Again they are resisting even after previously promising to rebuild.

“The orders sought are vague, imprecise and incapable of being complied with”

Such an order would be ‘oppressive’ their lawyer said.

And so on, the lawyers seek damages, costs and so forth.

The Corkman Pub, formerly the Carlton Inn, survived 159 years. It was a favoured ‘watering hole’ for generations of Melbourne University students. Owned continuously for over a century by one family, the Nobles, as in any working pub it saw changes over the years. In 1939 Architects Thomas Watts and Sons designed a new rear addition including kitchen, and provided alterations to the front bar. A two storey section was built on the eastern boundary in 1936. J.A. Trencher was the architect, with the new addition again seeing the kitchen moved and additional bed rooms added. Further alterations in 1954 by Architect Harry D Little saw the addition of single storey sections for laundry, toilets, a garage and fuel store, all replacing former outbuildings.

It’s obvious that the works were carried out with care, skill and expertise.

The recent works carried out by Shaq Demolitions utilised a Komatsu excavator, large tippers and sledge hammers, was perhaps less subtle.

It is the view of Balance Architecture that the ‘Developers’ should be hit with the full force of the law and be fined at the level that simply makes the projected plan uneconomical and unfundable. Never again should such appalling corporate behaviour be tolerated in the building industry.

And, brick by brick, bluestone block by bluestone block, vintage doors, vintage windows, floorboard by floorboard, Mr Raman Shaqiri and his partner Mr Stefce Kutlesovski must be forced to rebuild, restore and pay all costs on rebuilding the Corkman Hotel to its original state pre-demolition.

Melbourne’s heritage is precious, its time to make a stand.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.