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Good News in West Melbourne
Russell Degnan

The Melbourne Times (p5) reports that the 1930s art-deco building at 420 Spencer St. (corner Dudley St.) won't be turned into a 26-storey tower. Not yet anyway.

The area just north of the CBD is primarily 4-storey buildings at the moment, but that is expected to change. According to the VCAT decision:

"43. The conflicting views about the future of the CBD Fringe appear to have had their genesis in the exhibited Amendment C 20 in which the Melbourne City Council's proposal to impose a 28 metre or 8 storey height limit over the area was rejected by the C 20 Panel which recommended that there ought be no height limit. The Minister has subsequently approved DDO 33 for the CBD Fringe and this DDO contains no height limits. The Minister has also approved, almost simultaneous with the approval of the DDO, this application for a 26 storey building on the review site."

VCAT has it both ways stating that, "We reiterate our earlier observations that a building of the scale proposed is not untenable within the CBD Fringe, however we have not been persuaded that a building of that scale is appropriately located on this site and in this location.".

The proposal was also rejected for heritage reasons. As a C graded building a developer only has to maintain the facade - which, having seen it is all I think is worth retaining - but can demolish it if it "is justified for the development of the land". In this case it was decided that that was not the case.

It seems to me that it is an ordinary architect who can't create a modern, interesting apartment building that maintains the facade as it is. Particularly in this case, as the building is on a corner and there is an additional street-scape that could be used for car-parking, shops etc. It also strikes me as odd that an architect - who you'd think would appreciate buildings - would even want to destroy a heritage building. Hopefully this rejection will force the developers to put some thought into their proposals instead of trying to bend the rules to their will.

Planning 1st August, 2003 23:41:08   [#] 

Comments

That is one
I have some misgivings about preserving some buildings. I don't care when it was built or what historical significance it had - if it's so ugly that it makes your eyes water - it's time to let go and demolish the bugger.

I've found that most of the buildings built during the 60's and 70's are absolutely gross. We should pull them all down now before they get put on heritage lists.

I'm usually quite an advocate of protecting our architectural and cultural heritage. But lets face it - during the 1960's and 70's, the architects must have been eating too many hash cookies.
Aaron Hewett  19th August, 2003 20:40:43  


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