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Heritage protected

09 Mar 2017

Heritage protected Image

The City of Melbourne has made an urgent request to the Minister for Planning to place permanent heritage protection controls on four Southbank sites of historical significance.

Councillors were provided an update on stage one of the Southbank and Fishermans Bend Heritage Review at its Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) meeting on February 21.

The Castlemaine Brewery Site at 107-117, 129-131 and 133 Queensbridge St, the former PMG postal workshops at 45-99 Sturt St, the former Crown Chemical Warehouse at 63-65 City Rd and the former GP Motors Site at 35-41 City Rd were all identified in the review.

Councillors unanimously voted in favour of planning scheme amendment C276, which requests that Minister for Planning Richard Wynne place interim controls on Queensbridge St and part of the Sturt St site.

As part of the motion, the City of Melbourne will also request that minister Wynne implement permanent controls on all four sites under amendment C280.

However, while local resident and heritage groups have welcomed council’s efforts, they say it may be too late to save some of the buildings from demolition.

Of the four sites in question, the owners of the buildings at 63-65 City Rd and 45-99 Sturt St currently hold active planning permits, which authorise the demolition of both buildings.

While C280 seeks to permanently protect all buildings, these controls will now only come into effect should either of the permits not be acted upon.  

The owner of 35-41 City Rd has also lodged a planning application, which seeks to demolish the Opera Australia building to make way for a 23-storey tower.

President of the Australian Art Deco and Modernism Society Robin Grow said it was disappointing that protection hadn’t been placed on the sites sooner.

“We’ve been concerned for some time about the lack of protection accorded by the planning scheme for the four sites,” he said.

“The South Melbourne Heritage Study identified these sites as worthy of heritage protection in 1997. It’s disappointing that 20 years on council is finally considering including them in the planning scheme but better late than never.”

Melbourne Heritage Action president Tristan Davies praised council’s initiative and said it was important to protect the little remaining heritage Southbank had left.

“Heritage is dwindling in Southbank and I think besides the heritage issues it’s important that we move forward with amendments like this to improve the streetscapes and the amenity of this area.”

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said he was “delighted” to support the initiative, stating that he felt it was important to preserve the heritage value of Southbank’s industrial past for future generations.

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