Balance Architecture – For expert advice, planning and delivery on all Residential Heritage Architecture

With current Real Estate clearances at an all-time high in Melbourne and Rural Victoria, many buyers are purchasing property that carries a Heritage listing or is a part of a Heritage Overlay. This can be a complicating factor and definitely requires expert advice and direction. Balance Architecture offer qualified and experienced support to buyers purchasing Residential Heritage listed properties throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria.

As a Residential Heritage Architectural firm, Balance Architecture offers a steady hand and sensible programming of any and all renovations and refurbishments of Heritage homes. Georgian, Victorian, Federation or Mid Century Modern – Balance and its principal Architect, Andrew Fedorowicz, offer practical sound planning as well as bringing real excitement and flair to the recovery of the true Heritage identity of your valuable new property.

Today, it really is the merging of modern living, the space and comfort that is required with many properties often constructed well over a century ago, still retaining much of the older infrastructure and internals.

Balance Architecture will ensure the essential and required heritage features are retained, refurbished or replaced, faithfully adhering to the fittings, materials and building methodologies prescribed by Heritage authorities. At the same time, issues such as electricals, plumbing and painted surfaces will be addressed. What was acceptable 50 to100 years ago is not necessarily so today! Lead paint, antiquated electricals and lighting, creaky old iron pipes and ineffective drainage and sewerage must be replaced with modern functional infrastructure.

Ultimately, it is a combination of livability and maintaining the classic beauty of a gorgeous older building to the levels of appearance and quality as required by Heritage Victoria. It is no simple task and for that reason it’s imperative to seek and avail yourself of expert advice and experience.

Andrew Fedorowicz, Principal Architect for Balance Architecture, is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects. Andrew is a highly experienced Architect with over 30 years in Architectural Design and construction, its administration and ancillary drafting. Clearly Andrew represents the upper echelon of his profession, having won numerous awards and having personally managed and supervised over 320 high level projects.

It may be that you have purchased a Heritage property in regional Victoria – Ballarat, Bendigo, Daylesford, Kyneton, Mt Macedon – or the Dandenong Ranges or Gippsland. Alternatively, you’ve been fortunate enough to purchase in Greater Melbourne– Kew, Hawthorn, South Yarra, Clifton Hill, Ivanhoe, Eaglemont or Heidelberg to name just a few areas where both Heritage listed homes and suburban Heritage overlays exist.

Make the decision now – engage a Heritage Architect, call Balance Architecture now on 0418 341 443 and arrange a free no-obligation consultation. Meet directly with Andrew and start the process of re-developing your home to its real potential and true heritage. Alternatively, simply leave your details here for a prompt reply and scheduled meeting.

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Luxury, Comfort and Style. Heritage Values, Heritage Design.

Heritage History in Essendon – North Park Mansion – Under Threat

North Park is an extraordinary example of an early Melbourne mansion, a grand property that to this day remains in relatively pristine heritage condition. For those amongst you who may have missed our original posted blog on the property back in April of 2018, we reprint it here…

North Park Mansion is built upon ‘the highest point in Essendon’. The land was purchased in 1887 by Mr Alexander McCracken for the sum of 5000 pounds. Architects Oakden, Addison and Kemp designed the house for Mr McCracken, and Mr D Sinclair built the rather grand home, described as being in the Queen Anne revival style.

Alexander McCracken was described as ‘a brewer and a sportsman’. He had joined the family brewery firm ‘McCrackens’ as a junior partner in 1884.

The crash of the 1890s all but destroyed the company. It did however keep trading, avoiding liquidation. In May 1907 McCrackens and five other brewing firms became a merged company – known as Carlton and United Breweries. Alexander McCracken was made a director.

McCracken was the genial spokesman for the brewing industry from early in his career in 1891 through until his death in 1915. The irony? He died from cirrhosis of the liver.

During his lifetime he was President of the Essendon Football Club and then the first President of the Victorian Football League. He raced horses with some success and indulged in a myriad of other activities in the region of Essendon – all manner of sports, debating and a keen interest in poultry, pigeons and canaries.

In 1915, his widow sold off the remaining North Park Estate lands – only the Mansion and six acres remained. The Mansion was first sold to Mr Harvey Patterson, a BHP executive. In turn Mr Patterson on sold it to its current owners – the Columban Order – a Catholic Church Missionary Order.

The house is built utilising Red Northcote Bricks, Sandstone from Waurn Ponds (near Geelong), Basalt from Malmsbury and roofing tiles imported from Marseilles in France.

As previously mentioned this rather elaborate home was constructed in a Queen Anne Revival Style – red bricks for the walls and timbering with rough cast in the gables, orange terracotta tiles, ornamental barge boards, decorative finials and chimneys and ornate glazing.

It was in fact a riot of architectural styles, a combination of Scottish Baronial, French, Victorian and Tudor. Or perhaps ‘Tudor with modifications’. By all accounts it was truly the home of a big spending, articulate brewer – Alexander McCracken. A spacious ballroom, since converted to be a chapel, was added in the early 20th Century. The Columban Order added a new wing in 1966 and an office building replaced the original stables in 1968. The Coach House is substantially retained. And stranger than fiction – from 1923 onwards, it has been a virtual monastery. The building was added to the Victorian Heritage Register in 1997 – for both the building and its ‘gardenesque style’.

“The former North Park is architecturally important in demonstrating a high degree of creative achievement, being a pioneering example of the Queen Anne Revival domestic architecture in Australia. This style became the dominant expression in Australian domestic architecture in the decades immediately before and after 1900. The house is architecturally important for its use of imported Marseilles terracotta roof tiles in possibly their first application in Australia. Made by the French company, Guichard Carvin de Cie, St Andr, these unique tiles feature the firm’s signature bee imprint. The interior is architecturally important for its rich decoration including multi-coloured pressed metal ceilings, plaster friezes, timber panelling, encaustic tiling and elaborate stained and coloured glass. Other important extant detail includes ornate door knobs and push plates, and gas light hardware. Three ornately carved chairs in the entrance hall dating from the McCracken ownership are important for their continued association with the house.”

“The grounds of North Park are of aesthetic importance as an outstanding example of the gardenesque style and for the unusual three curved terraces, wide drive, garden path remains, and the evergreen trees and large conifers which contribute to the picturesque profile of the overall composition. The circular fish pond (disused) with its central figurine fountain and random rubble base is of unusual design and an important garden element now uncommon in Victoria. The location of this structure opposite the ballroom bay window is an important design feature. The cast iron gates, fence and hand gate supported by dressed bluestone are of an outstanding design, with particularly large spears and large scale iron members. The coach house and gardener’s shed are important contributions to the interpretation of a late nineteenth century large house and garden.” source: vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au

Source: https://balancearchitecture.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/grand-old-mansions-of-essendon-recycled-as-religious-headquarters-and-girls-grammar-schools/

‘North Park’ is an extremely interesting ornate building with cast iron features, ornate stone and brickwork and lavish stained glass windows. It has remained remarkably intact since the Columban Order purchased the property in 1923.

The grounds are particularly unique and herein lies the major problem. The Columban Order has seemingly been given some misinformed advice. Their quest to build 25 townhouses on part of the gardens is at odds with the Victorian Heritage Council’s assessment of the grounds and the gardens.

The estate grounds retain much of its original form, with a sweeping drive from the front gates on Woodland Street and the front of the house overlooking three curved terraces which are symmetrical about a central axis with the main towered entrance. The planting is a fine example of the Gardenesque style developed by John Claudius Loudon (1783 – 1843) in the early Nineteenth Century to display plants for their individual beauty. The grounds contain many mature trees which were planted when “North Park” was first constructed including; a pair of Himalayan Cedars, cypress trees, palm trees (almost as tall as the house itself) and a huge Moreton Bay Fig. All are surrounded by beds full of perennials which border a number of terraced lawns.

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/40262251@N03/6115422905/

The Property is now under threat. From The Age dated August 25th…

Catholic mission faces fight over plan to ‘carve up’ Essendon mansion

A residents’ group is opposing a Catholic mission’s multimillion-dollar plan to sell off its 19th century Essendon mansion and build a home for old priests in the grounds.

The St Columban’s Mission Society has applied to Heritage Victoria and Moonee Valley Council for permits to subdivide the grounds of North Park mansion.

Michael Whelan, Romy Pane and Gena O’Keeffe are a part of a group who oppose plans to sell North Park.

Proceeds from the sale of the heritage-listed 132-year-old mansion and most of its grounds will fund a $10 million office and apartments for Catholic priests.

The society plans to sell 90 per cent of the 20,000-square metre property, including the mansion.

It is seeking planning approval for 25 townhouses on some of that land.

On the 2000 square metres the society will retain, it plans to build a three-storey building to house its offices, and 16 apartments for elderly priests to live in.

Sale of the mansion and grounds could raise as much as $18 million.

The society’s regional bursar Michael Mooney said more than $10 million of the (estimated before the COVID-19 pandemic) $18 million proceeds of the mansion and land sales would fund construction of the new office and apartment building for priests.

The remainder would go towards the society’s work with disadvantaged people in 15 countries including Peru, Myanmar and the Philippines.

But a local residents’ group, Save North Park, objects to the site being ”carved up” and wants governments to buy the site for community use.

Spokesman Michael Whelan said it could be a cultural hub like Abbotsford Convent.

He called on the community “to rally as one and object to the proposed plans and for the community to have an active role in the future of this property”.

A Saint Columbans Mission Property Association report, which is part of the application to the council, described the mansion as “not suitable for Columbans in retirement”.

The priests’ current mansion rooms were “boarding house style” with single bedrooms, not all with ensuite, and meals taken in a common dining area.

However each flat in the new building would have two bedrooms, a bathroom, living area, and kitchen.

They would enable residents to entertain and have family over.

“This has become the norm elsewhere, for example, for retiring Catholic priests,” the report says.

The Save North Park group, however, proposes either a reduction in what it calls “excessive development” of the site, or “ideally for the entire site to be purchased by government to make it a place for all to enjoy”.

“We do not want to see this valuable asset carved up, obscured and diminished,” the group said in a statement.

The group opposes the proposed removal of 97 trees, which sustain animals such as possums, bats and magpies.

The mansion, built in 1888 for brewer and inaugural VFL president Alexander McCracken, has been owned by the St Columbans order since 1923.

The Victorian Heritage Register listing describes a “large, two-storey, picturesque residence” in the Queen Anne Revival style, set on Essendon’s highest point.

Members of the public can make submissions to Moonee Valley council [LINNK: https://mvcc.vic.gov.au/my-council/major-developments/45-69-woodland-street/%5D, however a date has not been set for deliberation on the matter.

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/national/victoria/catholic-mission-faces-fight-over-plan-to-carve-up-essendon-mansion-20200824-p55orz.html

The property must remain intact and complete. For its north western location, it’s right up there with some of Melbourne’s other grand old mansions such as Werribee Park and Banyule House – It’s an intricate piece of the city’s Architectural history and as such must be preserved.

For this reason, Balance Architecture supports the ‘Save North Park’ Group and will strive to assist them in their endeavours to preserve the full property as an intact entity

There have been numerous occasions over the last 120 years where Church bodies have simply destroyed beautiful heritage homes without consequence. In recent years, the St Vincent’s Orphanage development in South Melbourne and the St Vincent’s Hospital Development project in Fitzroy are two prime examples of this.

In this case, with the North Park Mansion to be sold, it would seem that with the financial return envisaged, there is little or no reason the 25 planned townhouses could not be built elsewhere to accommodate the needs of the priests.

The Heritage Listing is quite clear so it would appear most unlikely that the proposed development of a 3 storey impediment to the panoramic view of Melbourne’s skyline and the inherent destruction of the ‘Gardenesque’ grounds admired in the listing have any chance of successfully being challenged by the Colomban Society for a waiver of the Heritage Listing or its intent.

But stay tuned for further updates. This will likely be a battle, unless common sense prevails. No doubt the building will appeal to many possible suitors. However, will they respect the heritage? It’s a difficult situation.

(Footnote: The author’s father restored the gardens at North Park in the late 1950s and early 1960s)

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

Save these Heritage Treasures in Albert Park and North Balwyn

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It’s been some time since we have discussed some of the ongoing Heritage disputes here in Victoria. What’s entirely disappointing is the return of several development battles we considered safe. Not the case – we are up for round two and the first of these is in Albert Park.

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Previous rejected design for 1 Victoria Ave

No. 1 Victoria Avenue Albert Park. Last year the Developers – the Saade Group, were defeated at a VCAT hearing on their plans to demolish the existing building and replace it with what could only be described as an oversized ‘Birthday Cake’ of a building. The plan for the new building was rejected at VCAT as entirely inappropriate for the location given that it is an important component of the existing Heritage Overlay.

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New proposed design for 1 Victoria Ave

Read about last years battle and victory here…

The developers have submitted a new design to Council and are seeking to demolish the existing original building and replace it with something equally and as oddly out of context with the areas Heritage overlay as the previous proposed ‘development’ but one storey lower in height . The new design is in no way in sympathy with the existing streetscape or heritage vista.This proposed building is literally just over one block from St Vincents Place and the St Vincents Gardens!

The second property at risk is a significant Robin Boyd designed house in North Balwyn. The agent’s advertising pitch offers ‘vacant land’ for those purchasing the property.

Here is a recent report from ArchitectureAU…

Significant Robin Boyd house at risk of demolition

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A house designed by Robin Boyd in Melbourne’s eastern suburb of North Balwyn is at risk of demolition after the property was listed for sale and described as an opportunity to buy “vacant land” by the estate agent Fletchers.

A petition initiated by Melbourne academic and practitioner Jacqui Alexander calls on Boroondara Council to heritage protect the home and prevent it from demolition.

“It is a tragedy that this important example of post-war Australian modernism looks likely to succumb to the same fate as many other significant homes in Boroondara,” Alexander said in the petition.

“Architecturally significant homes from this era are being razed in Eastern suburbs like Balwyn at an alarming rate, only to be replaced with mass-produced and over-scaled mock-heritage mansions with no architectural or contextual value. These new developments come at the expense of our architectural heritage, the character of our streetscapes and the biodiversity of Melbourne’s leafy suburbs.”

A 2015 heritage study of Balwyn and North Balwyn prepared for the council identified the house as “a significant place in the City of Boorandara.”

The house was originally designed for pharmacist Don Woods and built in 1949 and is situated cross two lots at 12–14 Tannock Street.

It is one of the few remaining examples of Boyd’s early work as a sole practitioner prior to his partnership with Roy Grounds and Frederick Romberg. It is also one of three examples in the area that “provide rare and valuable evidence of the innovation, boldness and fresh design approaches of a young architect on the cusp of an illustrious career.”

Published in Australian Home Beautiful in October 1950, it was celebrated for its split level planning and its small footprint that “takes full advantage of space and outlook.” The Woods commission Boyd to extend the house twice, first in 1959 with two more bedrooms, a recreation room and a flat-roofed garage, and again 1971 with an addition across the street frontage. Both additions created seamless transitions between the old and the new.

When it was first sold in 1985, it was labelled as “timeless,” and “an outstanding work of contemporary design” by the estate agent.

The petition, on Change.org, has had more than 5610 signatures at the time of publication.

Source: architectureau.com

The property is in the area of Boroondara Council. The council (along with Bayside Council) has an appalling record in the preservation of Heritage properties within its boundaries.

This is a prime example of the neglect of Heritage listings by Local Government officials. It is their responsibility to ensure that Heritage Listings and overlays are both accurate and up to date. It’s otherwise way too easy to apply for a demolition permit which can be actioned whilst the Heritage Council of Victoria, which is under-financed and also understaffed considers the merit of the proposed Heritage overlay or listing.

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Yarrawonga Town Hall

Currently we are investigating a curious case in Yarrawonga. There the local shire is looking to place an ultra-modern designed library building next to a rather unique Art Deco design Yarrawonga Town Hall. In doing so it will destroy the local community centre but perhaps it will be sadder to see such a beautiful old building juxtaposed with against an ultra-modern design. More to come in the next few weeks.

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For the Albert Park property – 1 Victoria Ave, you can lodge an objection with the Port Phillip Council planning division. Here’s a link to the Don’t Destroy Albert Park website.

For the Robin Boyd Petition please go to change.org/p/b-save-robin-boyd-s-tannock-st-house and add your signature.

Balance Architecture stridently believes in the full protection of our Architectural and historical Heritage and encourages all our followers and readers to make your thoughts known to those who would destroy it.

Heritage is more than our past – it’s who we really are.

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

Update of the Botanical Gardens of Ballarat’s new Fernery.

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Work on the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Heritage Fernery is now well underway. This time we feature some of the more up to date and finalised drawings for your interest. Yes, this will be in fact the entrance to the overall Fernery precinct in the gardens. When complete with Stage 2, the curators of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens will be furnishing the growing space and habitat with exotic ferns from around the world as well as the more familiar native species and epiphytes such as Birdsnest, Staghorn and Elkhorn ferns.

The Fernery will add an immensely exciting visage to these popular gardens. The new design from Andrew Fedorowicz of Balance Architecture, is faithful to the original Fernery design providing a beautiful heritage perspective, in keeping with its surrounds and those of old Ballarat town.

The ‘New’ Fernery is a reproduction of the older original fernery that was so much a part of the older Ballarat Gardens of the 19th Century. It is faithful in its homage to the Gothic lines and stunning vista of the older fernery and has been designed with the cooperation and assistance of the Heritage Council of Victoria.

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The new Fernery Design is in keeping with the original fernery and its heritage values.

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

The Ballarat Botanical Gardens Fernery – Construction commences

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Balance Architecture is pleased to announce the commencement of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Fernery project. First designed and submitted for approval back in 2018 and 2019, the project is now underway – constructed specifically to the drawing and plans of Balance Architecture and its principal Architect Mr Andrew Fedorowicz (FAIA).

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Here’s a previous report to refresh your memories as to the unique nature of this exciting project.

Victoria has a fine heritage of Botanical Gardens established in the Nineteenth Century under the stewardship of Baron Von Mueller of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens.

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The Ballarat Botanical Gardens were gazetted by the then Government in 1857 and developed from 1858 onwards. The land was originally known as the ‘Old Police Paddock’ site and was some 40 hectares. Balance Architecture have now been engaged to assist in restoring the original Fernery, a substantial and important feature of the Gardens first constructed in 1887. The building featured extensive ornate timber mouldings, gothic in style, and was attended by several striking marble statues of Italian origin at its entrance. [A gift of 12 such statues was originally provided in 1884 by local stockbroker Mr Thomas Stoddart.]

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Ballarat was in fact ‘the city of Gold’ and the largesse from mining created many extraordinary buildings and edifices in old Ballarat. The Botanical Gardens adjoined Lake Wendouree (formerly Yuilles Swamp) and, as the 19th Century progressed, provided an elegant and well-tended public park where couples and families would stroll its promenades on weekends to ‘take in the airs’. Of the buildings of that time, the most significant original building still remaining in the gardens is the Statutory Pavilion housing the ‘Flight from Pompeii’ collection of sculptures.

The site was developed in three distinct sections – the Central ‘Botanic’ Gardens and two areas known as the North and South Gardens. With a strong linear design, the Central Gardens were designed with four north south promenades or walkways enabling a leisurely stroll for Victorian era families on a Sunday in their finery. The Fernery provided a lush green oasis to retreat to from the heat of the day. Once time to return home, a tramway through the park serviced visitors who could then return home in comfort.

The restoration of the original 19th Century Fernery is the latest project initiated by the Ballarat City Council to restore these magnificent gardens to their original glory.

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The restoration of the original 19th Century Fernery will occur in two stages. Once completed the site will enhance the annual Begonia festival with another opportunity to display these unique florals complemented by the year round collection of ferns, epiphytes and orchids. It is an exciting project, one that Balance Architecture’s principal Architect Mr Andrew Fedorowicz is proud to be associated with. As the works progress, Balance will provide our readers with regular updates. Heritage is so important to our character, our identity. Ballarat was the real epicentre of the state’s development last century almost entirely funded by Gold. In summer whilst sitting adjacent to Lake Wendouree enjoying the cool zephyrs of an afternoon breeze, you may just make out the soft images of our forebears and their children sitting on the grass, playing amongst the flowerbeds, cooling off in the fernery. It was a beautiful place, an idyll and it soon will be again.

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Source: Balance Architecture

At the moment we are investigating the current status of Number One, Victoria Avenue, Albert Park. Both the National Trust and Port Phillip Council recognise the heritage significance of this building. The Developers who own the property have submitted a further plan to demolish and erect a new building. The Save Albert Park Committee, a residents group, is again fighting this move. Last year the group was successful in VCAT in having the site preserved. This is a very important battle, and we will keep you informed with further updates over the next few weeks.

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

Heritage Protection – It’s time to act.

Heritage protection of Melbourne’s fabulous older buildings remains a challenge in 2020. In January, the State Government acknowledged that the ‘Corkman Cowboys’ have thumbed their nose at the agreements and requirements those developers had entered into. The State Government has now initiated new legal actions against them. This consists of an enforcement order brought jointly by the State Government and the City of Melbourne at VCAT to ensure the developers deliver on their promises. As yet, they have not.

The reality is that heritage protection in this state remains fairly weak with legislation hamstrung by the inaction of local councils in maintaining Heritage overlays and databases in their areas of control. Some examples of this are Bayside City Council and its intransigence on the protection of the midterm modern architecture in Beaumaris and Black Rock, and the ongoing rolling heritage disputes in the Booroondara Council areas.

Here’s a recent synopsis of the situation in Bayside as published in the Age Newspaper

National Trust slams Bayside Council’s ‘deplorable action’ on heritage sites

Planning Minister Richard Wynne is being urged to intervene to protect unique mid-century heritage in the City of Bayside – home to some of the best post-war architecture in the state – following the “devastating” demolition of two homes last week.

The National Trust has called for urgent action after the “tragic and unnecessary” demolition of the award-winning Breedon House in Brighton, which was designed by architect Geoffrey Woodfall and built in 1966.

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Beaumaris Modern president Fiona Austin in front of The Abrahams House

Chief executive Simon Ambrose said the modernist house had been left unprotected due to the “deplorable actions” of Bayside Council, which had “for many years abrogated its responsibilities … to ensure the conservation of places of heritage significance”.

A mid-century home in Nautilus Street, Beaumaris, that was designed by architect Charles Bricknell was also demolished last week, despite objections from the National Trust and community association Beaumaris Modern.

And a third modernist home – The Abrahams House on Beach Road, Beaumaris – is also in jeopardy, with an application to build townhouses on the site before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Beaumaris Modern president Fiona Austin said the houses would have been protected if Bayside Council had not abandoned heritage studies in 2008 and 2018.

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The Abrahams family in front of their one-time home

“This week in Bayside has been devastating for our architectural heritage,” Ms Austin said.

Heritage studies would have identified the best examples of the mid-century period, with a planning scheme amendment prepared to permanently protect them. This approach is taken by almost all other councils.

However, the council abandoned the heritage study in 2018 after some residents hit out when told their homes would be put on an interim heritage overlay until the study was completed.

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The award-winning Breedon House in Brighton

“As soon as the letters were put in letterboxes, all hell broke loose,” Bayside mayor Clarke Martin told The Age. “It descended into a horrible situation, where people were literally yelling at each other in the streets.”
Cr Martin said some home owners feared the interim heritage overlay would make renovating difficult, drive down property values and mean they couldn’t sell their homes.

“What underlined the whole thing was the view that it is your castle, you should be able to do with it what you like.”

Cr Martin said the process was so divisive the council paused the heritage study and instead invited property owners to nominate their homes for heritage protection on a voluntary register.

He said the voluntary process had identified eight private homes and 11 council properties in Beaumaris, which the council had submitted to Mr Wynne for approval.

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The mid-century home in Nautilus Street, Beaumaris

He said once these were given protection, the council would restart the heritage study.

However, the National Trust said it was aware of more than 100 places of heritage significance in the City of Bayside that remained unprotected and were at risk.

“Mid century homes are an important part of our history and utilised groundbreaking construction methods, innovative approaches to open-plan living and connections to the landscape,” said Mr Ambrose.

“The Bayside area in particular was a hotbed of architectural expression and experimentation and has one of the best collections of post-war architecture in Victoria, if not Australia.”

The National Trust and Beaumaris Modern have written to the Planning Minister urging him to intervene to protect heritage in Bayside.

Mr Ambrose said he requested that Mr Wynne use his ministerial powers to apply interim heritage overlays to places identified in previous heritage studies.

He said this would be done with a view to pursuing permanent protection through a planning scheme amendment. “[This] allows everyone – including home owners – to have a say.”

Mr Wynne said councils were responsible for protecting their local heritage and this was yet another example of their failure to do so.

“If the council considered these houses to be of local significance, they had the means to protect them and the demolition permits should never have been issued,” he said.

Source: theage.com.au

In Booroondara, the gap between Heritage Overlay approval and the protection of a property by a Victorian Heritage Council listing has meant a number of buildings have been demolished with impunity. The demolition permits were issued prior to the Heritage Overlays being approved and applied.

There needs to be an entire overhaul of Heritage protection in Victoria. Many councils are still running with Heritage Listings first applied in the 1980s and 1990s. It is imperative that these listings are kept up to date. Without an up to date Council Heritage listing all such buildings are vulnerable.

The situation has been allowed to slip whilst under the stewardship of both major political parties. There is one simple reason these issues are more often than not consigned to the ‘too hard’ basket – money. Those wishing to develop in these Council areas often represent a significant increase in rateable property income per property – e.g. Strata Title replacing single occupancy. On particular Local Councils, the developers hold major influence.

The National Trust, the Victorian Heritage Councils and the Heritage Inspection processes are heavily underfunded. With only limited staff, inspections that should take weeks, can be delayed for years.

The Real Estate Industry and the Building and Construction sector have good reasons to turn away – the simple answer is profitability. If heritage supporters want significant change then it will be necessary to strongly lobby both the State Government and individual Local Councils to do much more.

In the case of the State Government there needs to be much stronger funding of the Heritage Council of Victoria and Heritage Victoria. These organisations and the State Government Planning Department have the capacity to implement much more effective heritage policy, and for the Planning Department to provide far more realistic funding to these two organisations.

If you know of a Heritage property anywhere in Victoria currently under threat, please don’t hesitate to message us, or alternatively leave a message on our website and we will investigate and publicise the dispute.

Balance Architecture is committed to ensuring Heritage Architecture and listed buildings receive maximum protection and given due respect and recognition by both Government and Local Government Authorities. Heritage is who we are as a population, it’s where we’ve come from, and it’s the true basis on which future generations will rely to acknowledge our growth and diversity as a city and a State.

It’s time to ensure real protection, to value it, and to celebrate it.

Heritage in Victoria – Time for Action.

Over the last few years it has become increasingly obvious that there is a need for a stronger lobby group in presenting the arguments, the cases for retention and protection of heritage buildings in Greater Melbourne and Victoria.

Right now, the Government agencies responsible for such protections are simply overwhelmed with the sheer volume of requests for Heritage protection. The budget allocated to Heritage Victoria and the heritage Council of Victoria seems to be inadequate.

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‘Forres’ at 9-11 Edward Street, Kew, torn down in July 2016

 

Heritage has become a political football. The public and our grand heritage inheritance are the losers. Countless buildings are demolished whilst Heritage overlays are investigated by the Heritage Council. Without publicity, the problem is hidden and the solution becomes moot – often the building just simply disappears. There are loopholes upon loopholes. The recent events in Booroondara bear testament to this.

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Currajong House in Hawthorn was saved from demolition by Planning Minister Richard Wynne in May

Beautiful residential dwellings in Kew, Toorak, Hawthorn, Elsternwick, Caulfield North, Black Rock and Beaumaris have been destroyed. Old Hotels built in the 1880s, modified in the 1920s to an art nouveau style have been demolished. Why? Well, because their original architecture was diminished. What about the fabulous Art Nouveau transformations? Look at the Greyhound Hotel in St Kilda and the London in Port Melbourne, both now vacant blocks.

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Greyhound Hotel, St Kilda

 

At Balance Architecture, we are passionate about Heritage Architecture. The richness of Victorian era opulence engendered by the 1850s Gold Rush, the extraordinary craft and skill in the simple yet intricate details of masonry, tiling, slate roofing, monochromatic brickwork, stained glass windows – the Ballroom and Staterooms. The drawing rooms, the huge and impressive stairwells – the symmetry, the grace.

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The Toorak mansion bought for $18.5 million and razed. The empty block is now on the market for $40 million

Over the last few years we have brought you the passing vista of homes and buildings saved and preserved, of those that are derelict and in need of restoration, and of those demolished and gone forever.

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A bulldozer moves in on 368 Auburn Road

We now arrive at a crossroads. It is time for genuine action. We propose the formulation of a new group. The purpose of the group will be to lobby the government (State) to improve Heritage protections, to ensure Heritage Overlays across the entire state are up to date and to commit to the ongoing protection of our precious Heritage assets.

We are aware of other groups operating within the same arena but want to apply a more modern approach utilising online and social media opportunities to not only demonstrate the community depth of feeling on the issue, but to focus the various local groups into a strong voice for Heritage stability and protection.

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This house on Burwood Road, Hawthorn East is set to be demolished

Preparing for Heritage Listings can be both a daunting prospect and a set of difficult procedures. Quite frankly it shouldn’t be, and this is one of the objectives we believe we must work towards – a simplification of the processes combined with much increased funding to the state government bodies charged with doing the relevant inspections and determining the Heritage listings or otherwise.

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In many cases, the ultimate process will find its way to VCAT or a higher court. Often it is Heritage that is the loser. Time’s up on that nonsense. No more Corkman Fiascos, no more Currajong interventions.

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The Corkman Hotel, prior to its illegal demolition.

 

Let’s get a clear, open process in place. Let’s call all parties to the table – Architects, Developers, Residents and Bureaucrats, Council officials, Heritage Council officials and the National Trust – and politicians of all persuasions.

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55 Seymour Rd

It’s five past midnight and it’s time to act. Keep watching our page. We will provide details of a new group for those genuinely interested in Heritage protection. You will be able to join up on Facebook and then we can broaden the base from there. We will announce the new page here soon.

Heritage is our history, our persona, our character – the people of Victoria own it. Time to claim it.

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

Heritage Protection – the challenge is financial.

Victoria is fortunate in that State Government politicians have a bipartisan approach to heritage protection. To a major extent political parties, Local Government and the public agree on the majority of established Heritage listed properties being protected. The issue here is the updating and strengthening of protections for those buildings and properties either undergoing Heritage inspection and/or those not currently heritage listed.

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In Tasmania there is a different problem. Capital is scarce in Tasmania and the value put upon Heritage classification is definitely not uniform. The current Government, as can be seen by its pro-development stance on the Treasury Buildings in Hobart is less than enthusiastic in truly protecting Heritage buildings in the State. Add to that Local Government Councils that seemingly have little or no understanding of Heritage values and you have a disaster in the offing.

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From the ABC…

Tasmania is full of heritage-listed sites, but are they worth saving?

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The Hunters Hotel in Tasmania has seen better days

In the heart of Queenstown on Tasmania’s remote west coast stands a forest green hotel, framed with gold trimmings and a grand wooden balcony that overlooks the township.

The Hunters Hotel has a historic past, with its balcony serving as a stage for many speeches throughout its life.

In the early 1900s, workers’ rights advocate and Labor MP King O’Malley spoke from the balcony to the people in the street below.

Then in 1912, amidst the tragedy of the North Lyell mine fire where 42 men lost their lives, the community was given updates from the balcony.

But now this piece of history is facing the possibility of destruction.

The West Coast Council has issued an emergency order for the owners to dismantle the sagging balcony due to safety concerns.

West Coast Mayor, Phil Vickers said the owners have 28 days to make a decision.

“It’s a private property that has a verandah that is built over the top of a council footpath,” he said.

“It’s heritage-listed and we’ve had an engineers report that demonstrates that it needs to be either re-engineered and fixed up or dismantled.”

The owners and concerned members of the community are desperately trying to save the balcony.

One resident has started a crowdfunding page, but only $1,800 of the required $35,000 has been raised so far.

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Ralph Wildenauer says he has tried to do work himself, but health setbacks mean he needs to hire labour

Hotel owner Ralph Wildenauer said he was planning to fix the balcony next year after the rest of the hotel had been opened for business to raise the necessary funds.

“I was doing most of the work and last year I had a major stroke, so I’m not able to do work anymore and it means we have to employ people to finish everything off, which is very expensive,” Mr Wildenauer said.

Heritage sites held together with ‘sticky tape and glue’

Tasmania has the highest concentration of heritage sites of anywhere in Australia.

“Anyone that owns a heritage site knows that you just keep throwing buckets of money at it and that’s just the nature of the beast,” Matthew Smithies of the National Trust said.

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Clarendon House looks good on the surface

Heritage sites held together with ‘sticky tape and glue’

Tasmania has the highest concentration of heritage sites of anywhere in Australia.

“Anyone that owns a heritage site knows that you just keep throwing buckets of money at it and that’s just the nature of the beast,” Matthew Smithies of the National Trust said.

In Tasmania, the National Trust has eight sites ranging from Home Hill, the family home of former Australian Prime Minister Joseph Lyons, to Hobart’s Convict Penitentiary.

However, the cost to maintain and preserve these heritage assets is huge.

Mr Smithies said the National Trust has a bit of a legacy at the moment of maintenance and conservation works that are well overdue.

“We’ve got about $3.5 million worth of conservation works that we need to carry out immediately, and raising that funding is difficult,” he said.

Clarendon House, in the north of the state, is in desperate need of maintenance and restoration — some of the building’s walls being reduced to rubble, issues with the staircase that is no longer straight and a basement that is cracked from a flood that occurred five years ago.

“From an engineers report that we’ve received, we’re actually going to lose the front face of Clarendon in the not-too-distant future,” Mr Smithies said.

The Tasmanian Branch of the National Trust has found its priority list is constantly changing due to the rapid rate their heritage sites have been deteriorating.

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A floor is in ruins inside Clarendon House, a heritage-listed site in Tasmania’s north

Last year, the Launceston City Council told them to close the Franklin House site to the public due to safety issues with a wall.

“The convict-built, brick boundary wall at Franklin House was at the brink of toppling over, causing a lot of occupational health and safety concerns as it was a boundary wall with our neighbours and at the eleventh hour we did manage to get some funding from both Launceston Council and the State Government,” Mr Smithies said.

To minimise the loss of heritage during the wall dismantlement, each brick was numbered, catalogued and photographed as it was removed.

Contemporary foundations were then laid before the wall was rebuilt, with each brick placed in its original spot.
‘Mould everywhere, mushrooms growing on the floors’

The owners of the Hunters Hotel have faced the same problem when it came to the maintenance and preservation of their heritage-listed building.

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The balcony of Hunters Hotel is in desperate need of repair

Mr Wildenauer and his wife took over the hotel more than two years ago, but before that, it had been abandoned for almost 20 years.

“You know, twenty years of leaking roofs and missing windows, there was mould growing everywhere, there were mushrooms growing on the floors, it was really, really bad,” he said.

“If we hadn’t started working on it, by now huge sections would have collapsed, you know ceilings would have come down, roofs would have come down.”

Mr Wildenauer believes if he had used professionals to work on the structure, it would have cost close to $1 million.

He tried to obtain multiple grants to help fund the needed work restorations but has been unsuccessful so far.

Cr Vickers said that small councils could not afford to help everyone, especially when the building is private property.

“It’s a historic building and we have lots of historic buildings that are in private ownership within our district, we can’t help everyone,” he said.

But the National Trust said it was a challenge for people who were custodians of heritage in both the private and public sectors.

“There is a bigger discussion that needs to be had around how we can keep our heritage assets standing,” Mr Smithies said.
What’s worth saving?

Due to limited funding, maintainers of heritage sites within the state have to decide which assets should be maintained.

Mr Smithies said it was hard to put a price on heritage.

“It’s what makes towns and cities and villages different from one another,” he said.

“I’m from Sydney, so the greater western suburbs, where they’ve just built these matchbox houses side by side, they’re absolutely soulless and I don’t think people particularly want to live like that.”

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A staircase at historic Clarendon House near Launceston has visible cracks and mould

Those within heritage management asses value by looking at what stories are linked to the asset.

Mr Smithies said there were some wonderful collections at the National Trust that would fetch a high price at auction, with some even gaining international interest.

But his favourite heritage asset is a 120-year-old kerosene tin that he believes is worth about 50 cents.

“Someone’s cut the front out and put a candle in … it comes from a farm of a well-known agricultural family and it was the kerosene tin that they used to go down to the dairy when there was calving,” he said.

“How do you measure significance? Is it the stories behind it or is it the bean counter? What is its commercial value?”

For Mr Wildenauer, although the Hunters Hotel is expensive to maintain, its history is priceless.

“Once that balcony is gone, it will be gone forever, the history will be gone with it,” he said.

“OK, they might have saved a few beams and a few bits and pieces, but it’s not going to be the same balcony if they rebuild it and the cost of rebuilding is going to be way, way more than the cost of repairing it.

“It’s not always a viable thing to restore these buildings, but to let them collapse is even worse.”

Source: abc.net.au

Heritage protection and Heritage values should not vary from State to State. In Melbourne when one of the oldest remaining buildings in the CBD was in imminent danger of collapse, its inhabitants too old and infirm to take action, the City of Melbourne stepped in and provided reinforcing whilst funding and plans for its restoration was determined. It’s still braced, located at the corner of King St and Latrobe St.

It’s time to evolve a national approach to our Heritage buildings and properties, create a funding model and provide significant education from an early age to enable people to realise the true value of such neglected buildings.

Heritage is precious – protect it.

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

The Repurposing of Heritage Buildings – Skill or Stealth?

In Tasmania, arguably some of Australia’s oldest historic and heritage protected buildings have long enjoyed quite rightful protection from ‘Developers’ and repurposing.

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This would appear to be not the case anymore. The Tasmanian Government is currently undertaking an ‘Expressions of Interest’ on the historic Treasury Buildings complex. The complex was earmarked ‘for sale’ in the 2018 State Budget.

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The Treasury Buildings were constructed over a period of 130 years, with the original buildings being erected in 1824. Every component building of the complex has since been clad in local Sandstone.

For a better understanding of what the Treasury Buildings complex consists of, please consider this decision by Heritage Tasmania. Currently the buildings are publicly owned.

Treasury Complex’s Heritage Values Recognised

Treasury Building Hobart

The Tasmanian Heritage Council has initiated a process to better define the historic cultural heritage values of Hobart’s iconic Treasury complex.

‘The Heritage Council is pleased to announce the provisional replacement entry of the Treasury Complex and Public Buildings in the Tasmanian Heritage Register and seek input on this entry after an extensive assessment process’ said Ms Brett Torossi, Chair of the Tasmanian Heritage Council.

‘In making the decision to provisionally enter the Treasury Complex in the Heritage Register, the Heritage Council was conscious of recognising the critical role it has played in shaping the Tasmania over the 19th and 20th Centuries. It was also keen to respond to the Tasmanian Government’s announcement of its plans to release the complex for an alternate use and give interested members of the Tasmanian community the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed entry’.

The Treasury Complex and Public Buildings occupies a prominent block within the city centre of Hobart. It includes a group of eight adjoining and interconnected buildings, principally constructed across the approximately 130 years from 1824 to 1957, as well as the former HEC Substation on the corner of Murray and Davey Streets. The complementary styles and scales of the complex’s buildings, most of which are clad in locally quarried sandstone, give them a strong degree of unity.

Across the 19th and 20th centuries, the complex conveyed an impression of state power and authority. During the early colonial period housed the centralised administration of core government functions within the convict society of Van Diemen’s Land. The Treasury Complex and Public Buildings has been at the centre of Tasmania’s judicial, political and administrative life from the 1820s until the present day, and is of exceptional historic cultural heritage significance.

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At the time the Tasmanian Government announced The Treasury Divestment Project in 2018, the Treasury Complex was recognised as being of historic cultural heritage significance to Tasmania by two entries in the Tasmanian Heritage Register. These entries were for the Public Buildings adjacent to Franklin Square (THR #2468) and the Franklin Square Office Complex (THR# 2516).

In order to better define the heritage values of the Treasury Complex and ensure they are recognised and effectively managed into the future, the Heritage Council decided to create a single, comprehensive, consolidated replacement entry for the Treasury Complex, inclusive of its buildings, sub-surface values and curtilage. As a result of this effort, a new entry for the Treasury Complex and Public Buildings (THR#11734) was provisionally entered in the Heritage Register on 10 December 2019, under provisions contained in Part 4 of the Historic Cultural Heritage Act 1995.

This provisional replacement entry is now open for public consultation. Members of the public have 60-days in which to lodge submissions or objections to the entry of this place on the Heritage Register. This is part of the statutory process required under Part 4 of the Heritage Act.

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This process is a two-stage process that entails: the provisional entry of a place in the Heritage Register, written advice to the property owner/s and the local planning authority, a 60-day public consultation period at least 21 days later; and a final decision on the permanent entry of the place by the Heritage Council, with an appeal process available to anyone that lodges a submission.

This public consultation process commences on 8 January 2020 and closes on 8 March 2020. A decision on the permanent entry is expected to be made before the end of April 2020. The Heritage Council’s decision will take into consideration any submissions or objections received.

‘I encourage anyone with an interest in the Treasury Complex and Public Buildings to review the new provisional replacement entry on our website and provide us with their feedback.’ For a copy of the provisional replacement entry click here.

Source: heritage.tas.gov.au

It can be deduced that sections of the Tasmanian Government simply view the historical buildings as an excellent piece of CBD real estate that a profit can be turned on. Equally there are many people Australia-wide who believe these buildings should remain a public asset and be carefully protected.

Heritage Tasmania is calling for submissions and/or objections to its new provisional Heritage Entry on the buildings in question.

Here is the link to that provisional entry for your due consideration and comment.

This type of approach as being adopted by the Tasmanian Government will become far more commonplace as elected representatives look to sell off Government Assets to provide significant financial windfalls.

From the Advocate Newspaper…

Investors sought for historic Tasmanian Treasury building

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Investors are being sought to outline their vision for Hobart’s historic Treasury building.

Finance Minister Michael Ferguson said it was important prospective investors were able to undertake due diligence on the site before presenting a concept plan that aligned with the project objectives agreed with the community.

He said investors had until April 2 to outline the social economic and environmental contribution their proposals would make.

“Proponents will be expected to highlight their experience and capacity to deliver a project of this scale and heritage significance, consistent with the new Treasury Complex and Public Buildings Conservation Management Plan,” Mr Ferguson said.

“The CMP, which has been finalised in close consultation with Heritage Tasmania and the City of Hobart, and a survey, are available on the website.

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“The survey seeks feedback on whether this comprehensive CMP addresses the issues the community would want the document to cover, and future uses that may be proposed.”

Heritage Tasmania is also undertaking separate public consultations until March 8, 2020, on a single consolidated heritage entry that covers the Treasury buildings, sub-surface values and curtilage, to better define their heritage value.

The historic Treasury building was earmarked for sale by the Tasmanian Government in the 2018 budget.

Source: theadvocate.com.au

A similar article appeared in the Launceston Examiner.

The Tasmanian Treasury building complex is not just a Tasmanian treasure, it is a National Heritage treasure.

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“Re-imagining” seems like a metaphor for “redevelop” to us. It has already been determined the buildings are not suitable for a Hotel.

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Perhaps the Tasmanian Government could look to Victoria for inspiration. The old Customs House in Flinders St has been converted into the Immigration Museum, providing an excellent educational resource for thousands of visitors, schoolchildren and the many, many migrants who have made Australia home. It remains a public building.

And so should the old Hobart Treasury Buildings, an integral part of Australia’s colonial history, a genuine component of this Nation’s heritage and beginnings. Re-imagine that.

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

The Battle to protect Heritage is hotting up. Two Key Issues.

The ongoing battle to protect heritage architecture and our historic buildings from unscrupulous developers has seen two major issues come to a head this January. One is the removal of the planning loophole (Amendment 299) that enabled Heritage destruction in Booroondara. This amendment by the Victorian Government Planning Ministry permitted the destruction of buildings subject to interim Heritage Overlays in Booroondara, and was rescinded by the planning Minister on or about January 2nd 2020.

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A bulldozer moves in on 368 Auburn Road

The second major issue is of course the Corkman Demolition and the ongoing refusal of the developers involved to co-operate or to fulfil the terms of agreement made with Government’s Planning Minister, Mr Richard Wynne, last year.

The Corkman Saga is becoming a major thorn in the side of the Minister and his department. Land value at the time of purchase in 2015 was assessed to be in line with the purchase price of $4.76 million. However as a Heritage listed building this essentially meant nothing until the developers ‘knocked the pub over’. Land value is now estimated to be $8 to $10 million. Its plain to see that with fines reduced to $1.1 million last year in the County Court, compulsory acquisition as being touted by the Victorian Government opposition is hardly punitive.

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The Corkman Hotel, prior to its illegal demolition.

We suspect that current legislation in ineffective in dealing with such matters. As can be seen, fines are limited. It’s probably the right time to introduce stronger punitive measures, but no Government wants to be viewed as ‘anti-development’. In this case the Corkman ‘Developers ‘could reap up to 3 times the land value if they were permitted to build. Quite frankly they should never be permitted to under any circumstances. Again – this will require new legislation.

Here are two recent articles from the Fairfax press on the situation

Seize Corkman land, opposition says, after another broken promise

The developers who own the Carlton site where the historic Corkman Irish Pub once stood have failed to carry out their latest promise, which was to build a temporary public park on the land.

The failure has led the opposition to renew its call for the Andrews government to forcibly acquire the land.

Developers Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski in October 2016 knocked down the 159-year-old pub without planning or building permission.

They were initially fined almost $2 million for brazenly destroying the building over the course of a weekend. Last year, their County Court appeal saw the fines cut to $1.1 million.

Rubble covered the site for three years after the demolition, but in 2019 Planning Minister Richard Wynne reached an agreement with the pair to turn the site into a temporary public park.

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The pub in 2016 before it was knocked down

Under the terms of their agreement with Mr Wynne and Melbourne City Council, the pair cleared the site and were then supposed to deliver a plan for a temporary park, which was meant to be open by February. But the pair have not yet even submitted plans to the city council for approval.

Lord mayor Sally Capp said the council was considering its legal options to make sure the site was turned into public space.

“We’re extremely disappointed the owners of the Corkman site have not complied with the VCAT order,” she said.

Contacted on Tuesday, Mr Kutlesovski refused to say why no action had been taken on the promised park. Mr Shaqiri did not return a message left with him.

Opposition planning spokesman Tim Smith said that Mr Wynne now needed to step in and compulsorily acquire the land, because of his repeated failure to compel the owners to do anything that they had agreed to do.

In 2016 in response to intense public outrage, Mr Shaqiri and Mr Kutlesovski issued a promise – via their public relations consultant, and now Labor MP Will Fowles – to Mr Wynne that they would rebuild the pub. They later reneged on this promise.

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A graffiti piece depicting demolition of the Corkman pub, directly across the road from the site

“Richard Wynne first said the pub would be rebuilt and it hasn’t been,” Mr Smith said. “He then said the rogues that knocked down the Corkman would have the highest fines ever, and that’s not true,” he said.

Mr Smith said the latest failure meant the government “must surely now intervene and compulsorily acquire the site and put it to good use, which is student housing, social housing or a park”.

He questioned why the government was so easily able to compulsorily acquire land needed for major transport projects and yet was unwilling to take the Carlton site off its owners. “We’re not talking tens of millions here,” he said.

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The pub immediately after Kutlesovski and Shaqiri demolished it

Mr Kutlesovski and Mr Shaqiri bought the pub in 2015 for $4.76 million and it was last year valued at between $8 million and $10 million.

Mr Wynne said the planning department was working with the city council to force Shaqiri and Kutlesovski to comply with the VCAT order to build a park on the site. “These cowboy developers have shown, yet again, that they are recklessly disinterested in obeying the law,” he said.

Mr Wynne did not respond to questioning about whether the government would compulsorily acquire the site.

He has previously said the price the government would have to pay to acquire the site would deliver huge profits to the developers, and for this reason he would not proceed down that path.

Source: brisbanetimes.com.au

‘You’re not above the law’: State takes Corkman Pub ‘rogue developers’ back to court

The state government will take developers who razed the historic Corkman Irish Pub to court again, seeking an order forcing them to build a temporary public park at the Carlton site.

Developers Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski have failed to deliver on their promise to build the park by February under an agreement they reached with Planning Minister Richard Wynne last year.

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The Carlton site on Tuesday

The site remains closed off by a barbed-wire fence and the pair have not submitted plans to the City of Melbourne for approval.

Mr Wynne on Wednesday said the state government and Melbourne council would seek an enforcement order at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to ensure Mr Shaqiri and Mr Kutlesovski delivered on their promise.

The minister said he would speak with Attorney-General Jill Hennessy to expedite the court process and have the matter heard in VCAT soon.

“We don’t want this matter hanging around – we want this matter resolved, we want this park to be built,” Mr Wynne said.

“You can be absolutely confident of my determination and the government’s determination to ensure the enforcement order, if we are successful at VCAT, is in fact abided by these developers. You are not above the law.”

If an enforcement order is issued and the developers again fail to build the park, Mr Wynne said Melbourne council would step in to build the park and seek costs from Mr Shaqiri and Mr Kutlesovski.

The opposition renewed its calls for Mr Wynne to step in and compulsorily acquire the land following his repeated failure to compel the owners to act.

But Mr Wynne rejected those calls, accusing the Coalition of “not understanding planning laws”.

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The Corkman Irish Pub in Carlton, built in 1857, was demolished in 2016

“One of our eminent planning [lawyers] advised me absolutely that the state would be required to pay the enhanced value of the site, plus compensation, and we’re not prepared to do that,” he said.

“We’re not prepared to reward these developers who have flouted the law.

“We will never allow this site to be acquired with a massive windfall gain for these rogue developers at the expense of taxpayers.”

The opposition’s planning spokesman Tim Smith hit back, calling the state government’s decision to take the pair to VCAT a “joke”.

“Dick Wynne has now been dragged back to VCAT, where he says he’s going to get another wet lettuce to slap these two cowboys with over the wrists again,” Mr Smith said.

“Wow, what a joke. These two cowboys are just laughing at Dick.”

Mr Kutlesovski and Mr Shaqiri bought the pub in 2015 for $4.76 million and the site was last year valued at between $8 million and $10 million.

In October 2016 they knocked down the 159-year-old pub without planning or building permission.

They were initially fined almost $2 million for destroying the building over the course of a weekend. Last year a County Court appeal led to the fines being cut to $1.1 million.

Source: theage.com.au

Unfortunately, this saga is now playing into a political situation. To date there is very little substance as to suggestions to compulsorily acquire the property.

The Toorak mansion bought for $18.5 million and razed. The empty block is now on the market for $40 million

The Toorak mansion bought for $18.5 million and razed. The empty block is now on the market for $40 million

In the UK, the developers would be forced to reconstruct the hotel, be fined heavily or face confiscation of the property.

Currajong House in Hawthorn was saved from demolition by Planning Minister Richard Wynne in May

Currajong House in Hawthorn was saved from demolition by Planning Minister Richard Wynne in May

To the second issue – Booroondara. This is another political gamesmanship issue – the loser has been Heritage. The State Government has rescinded Amendment C299 which applied specifically to buildings subject to Heritage Overlays in the Booroondara Council area.

Here is a statement from the Mayor or Booroondara…

Removal of unjust Amendment C299 loophole boosts heritage protection in Boroondara

Council takes back control of protecting the City’s history.

The City of Boroondara is aware of media reports about the Victorian Minister for Planning’s intention to remove the unjust, discriminatory and exclusively prejudicial ‘Boroondara Planning Scheme Amendment C299’, which uniquely allowed the demolition of buildings subject to Interim Heritage Overlays in Boroondara.

Mayor of Boroondara, Cr Cynthia Watson, said Council had been advocating since June 2018 when C299 was imposed by the Minister on Boroondara, for the removal of Amendment C299.

“We are relieved to see common sense finally prevail with the proposed removal of the Amendment C299 loophole,” said Cr Watson. “No other municipal planning scheme in Victoria is subject to an exemption like this one, which allows heritage properties to be demolished”.

During 2019, Council wrote to the Minister requesting the removal of the Amendment on seven occasions (8 and 13 May, 24 June, 30 August, 9 and 13 September and 21 October) and also wrote to all local members of state parliament and Premier Daniel Andrews, seeking assistance to have Amendment C299 removed.

During this time, Council also repeatedly sought authorisations and decisions from the Minister which would have protected properties at risk of demolition. On average, the Minister took over five months to respond to these requests for heritage controls, with several sitting on his desk for well over a year.

In one such instance, the Minister was given three months’ notice by Council that a property at 360 Auburn Road Hawthorn was at risk, and he chose to do nothing. That property was subsequently demolished on Christmas Eve.

Usually, a building’s inclusion in an interim Heritage Overlay would overrule any building permit issued prior to the introduction of heritage controls.

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Under what has become known as the C299 loophole, which exclusively targeted the City of Boroondara, property owners with a building permit were able to override interim Heritage Overlays and demolish historic buildings.“While we are pleased to finally see the end of Amendment C299, we are saddened that this loophole was responsible for the loss of nine irreplaceable heritage properties. Council can now take back control of protecting our City’s history on behalf of our community,” said Cr Watson.

“The Minister chose to exclusively and unjustly target the community of Boroondara and has clearly realised the error of his ways.”

During community consultation for the Boroondara Community Plan, our residents clearly told us that they place great value on Boroondara’s heritage buildings and precincts. We currently have well over 10,000 properties in Boroondara currently protected by heritage controls and have allocated over $1 million dollars to our five-year Municipal Wide Heritage Gap Study to identify further historical properties and precincts. Boroondara is a Council that has a long history of investing in the protection of our heritage and will continue to have a strong partnership with our community in its ongoing preservation.

Information about the Municipal Wide Heritage Gap Study is available on the City of Boroondara website at http://www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/heritage.

Comments Attributable to Mayor of Boroondara, Councillor Cynthia Watson

After months of petitioning for the removal of the Minister’s ill-conceived loophole, it is disappointing but not surprising that Council has had to learn via the media of the Minister’s plans to revoke Amendment C299.

As at 3 January, Council has not received any notification from the Minister’s office indicating a decision on removing the Amendment has been made.

We are pleased to see common sense finally prevail but frustrated it has taken this long and at such great cost to the heritage of our City. No other municipal planning scheme in Victoria was subject to an exemption allowing heritage properties to be demolished in this way.

Amendment C299 was responsible for the loss of nine heritage properties across the City. With its removal, Council can take back control of protecting our historic properties.

We now encourage the Minister to expedite the removal of Amendment C299 from the Boroondara Planning Scheme by ensuring its gazettal at the first opportunity. Until this is done, as the Minister knows, at least five more historic properties are at risk of demolition.

Source: boroondara.vic.gov.au

this-historic-house-at-55-seymour-road-elsternwick-was-demolished-in-august-despite-outrage-from-locals

This historic house at 55 Seymour Road Elsternwick was demolished in August, despite outrage from locals

Mr Tim Smith is the member for Kew, he is also the Shadow Minister for Planning and Heritage. Booroondara is a Liberal party controlled council. Demolition permits are issued via Council. Heritage Overlay submissions are made by Council. A number of vulnerable buildings in both Kew and Hawthorn have been demolished. The State Government Planning Department stepped in to halt the demolition last year of the historic Currajong House.

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This house on Burwood Road, Hawthorn East is set to be demolished

What is required now is an expansions of Heritage Overlays and protections to cover areas not considered important in the 1980s and ‘90s and until recently were not at risk. Armadale, Elsternwick, Hawthorn, Kew and other near city suburbs are in dire need of real action to protect our valuable Heritage buildings from unscrupulous developers.

This will require a genuine non-partisan co-operative action on the part of both State Politicians, Municipal Councils and bodies such as Heritage Victoria, the National Trust and all interested and involved parties; re-vamped Heritage laws with significant powers, increased funding and staffing of Heritage Victoria and the Heritage Council and the co-operation of organisations like the Master Builders Association and the Housing Industry of Australia.

It’s time for a positive change.

Heritage most definitely does matter.

 

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