North Melbourne heritage review moves forward

North Melbourne heritage review moves forward
Sean Car

City of Melbourne councillors will meet on February 21 to endorse an improved final version of the North Melbourne Heritage Review following public exhibition which took place between August and September last year.

Councillors are expected to recommend that Minister for Planning Sonya Kilkenny appoint an independent panel to consider all submissions received during the exhibition of Planning Scheme Amendment C403 before it’s legislated.

Councillors unanimously endorsed the heritage review at the Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) meeting on April 12 last year, requesting then Minister for Planning Richard Wynne to realease the review for public comment.

Conducted by architects Lovell Chen, the review recommended that 108 buildings have their heritage protection increased on an interim basis under Planning Scheme Amendment C402, while permanent controls progressed under C403.

The Minister for Planning approved Amendment C402 in 2022, with the amendment gazetted on October 6.

While the most recent heritage study of North Melbourne, which was completed in 1983, identified “almost exclusively Victorian and Edwardian era architecture”, the latest review assessed existing controls in addition to considering interwar, post-war and postmodern buildings.

The council report tabled at the April 12 FMC meeting said, “the outcome of the review reflects the unique, diverse heritage character of North Melbourne”, and recommended heritage overlays and statements of significance to four new places:

  • The Albion Hotel, Curzon St.
  • Hotham Gardens – Stage One (various sites), O’Shannassy St.
  • Harris Street’s Plane trees    
  • Flemington Bridge Railway Station, Boundary Rd.

A total of 23 submissions were received between August 11 and September 15, with the National Trust among eight declaring their overarching support for the permanent controls under C403.

While little is expected to change between the interim and permanent controls, the results of the submissions will see four properties along Boundary Rd removed, while properties at 8 Jones Lane and 588 Victoria St will have their statuses upgraded to “significant” and “contributory”, respectively.

Many of the changes come following a detailed submission from local history group the Hotham History Project, which argued that the Jones Lane and Victoria St properties, as well as 38 Curran St and 40-42 Curran St, warranted heritage categories, while arguing 10 Canning St was not a significant building.

The group also expressed concern that two “landmark buildings” – the former Presbyterian Union Memorial Church complex and concrete silos in the heart of the former North and West Melbourne Biscuit Making & Flour Milling Precinct – were both at risk due to likely sale.

Five other submissions objected to a proposed heritage building category change from “not listed” to “contributory” for five properties at 680-684 Queensberry St, 6 Baillie St, 48-50 Baillie St, 59-63 Chapman St and 27-35 Leveson St.

Another submitter also objected to the proposed heritage category for 8 George St, arguing that there was “insufficient justification” for the “contributory” grading of what was a “relatively new” property. •


Caption: The property at 8 Jones Lane, North Melbourne, which has been upgraded to "significant" following the public exhibition of the North Melbourne Heritage Review planning scheme amendment C403.

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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