Eastern Arcade - Bourke Street - Planning Fiasco

Dear Minister,

MARVELLOUSMELBOURNE want you, as the Minister responsible for Planning in our State, to answer a question.

Hey, Minister Madden for Planning - WHAT HAPPENED!?"

The Heritage Building known as Eastern Arcade, a 1894 Moorish, neo-Saracen building in Bourke Street Melbourne was being recommended for Heritage listing by the M.C.C. and developers were going to be required to incorporate the front section of the building into their design, thus saving another piece of Heritage for future generations and causing much joy among those concerned about the loss of Heritage in Victoria. Our Heritage is disappearing under your government.
However, the building has been demolished and the information is that your department did not follow protocol. Normally the Minister's office would not issue a permit without input from the M.C.C., which would have been that the building should be Heritage listed first. But this input was delayed because the developers asked for a delay. Strangely, the Minister's office then went ahead and approved demolition.
Minister, we challenge you to explain.
Sincerely
Mary Drost


(Extract from: http://www.nattrust.com.au/conservation/heritage_news__1)

 

Despite discussions with the developers regarding retention of at least the unique 1894 Moorish style façade, and Heritage Victoria finding that it was of local significance, the developers proceeded with their original plans for a high-rise hotel, and demolition began in mid June beginning with the 1894 façade.

How could this happen ? There are two main reasons : Firstly, the Melbourne City Council has not updated its list of CBD heritage buildings since 1982. At that time this building was covered in cladding, and so it was never officially listed. Secondly, the Minister's department was the statutory authority since the proposal was over 25,000 m sq. Normally his office would not issue a permit without input from the MCC, which was to be that the building should be heritage listed first. But this input was delayed on request from the developers, pending negotiations. However, the Minister's office went ahead and allowed demolition because the building was not heritage listed.