Heritage Victoria grants permit for Richmond Maltings redevelopment

In a landmark decision for Melbourne’s heritage, Heritage Victoria has issued a permit to Caydon Property Group for the redevelopment of the Richmond Maltings Complex, which includes the iconic Nylex sign and concrete silos. Overall, the National Trust supports Heritage Victoria’s assessment that the revised plans represent a major departure from the original scheme proposed by Caydon back in 2015 which contemplated the total demolition of the silos. Compared with previous schemes for the site, the approved plans are more responsive to the cultural heritage significance of the Maltings, incorporating many of the concerns raised by community stakeholders including the National Trust (as expressed in our submission dated December 2016). These concerns include the retainment of more heritage fabric and additional positive outcomes including conservation works, active interpretation, landscaping, archaeological investigation and professional recording.To read previous Trust Advocate blog posts outlining further background information regarding the proposed re-development of the site, please click here, here and here.

As extracted from a document prepared by Heritage Victoria in March 2017, the approved works include:

‘…the retention and conservation of three bays of the historic 1962 silos, the full conservation and activation of the Nylex sign, the retention of the smaller silos that support the Victoria Bitter sign, conservation and activation of the majority of buildings onsite that demonstrate former malting technologies, and retention of portions of the red brick perimeter walls.

The approval also enables Caydon Property to construct a new tower of 13 storeys to the east of the 1962 silos above the 1920 malt house; a new tower of 14 storeys in height on the western part of the site abutting and encompassing the 1962 silos, with other new additions to retained heritage buildings. The height above the 1962 silos will be capped at an additional two storeys, and the approval allows for the retained silos to be extruded in height to meet the new built form. This new element will be differentiated in materiality but will retain the exterior form and appearance of the predominant silos bulk.’

While the development will have physical impacts to the heritage site and include new buildings of substantial scale and bulk, the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria has determined that the development overall will have a ‘positive heritage outcome, as the site is currently vacant, is degrading from lack of maintenance, and under significant threat from vandalism.’ Further:

‘Activation and opening up of the site will enable a greater public benefit and ability to tell the industrial and social story of the precinct to Melbourne’s development history.

Retention of over 50% of the 1962 silos (as presented in the Caydon revised scheme) is a significant improvement on the original Stage 2 proposal that included their total demolition and replacement by new buildings.’

As a way to mitigate the negative effects of loss of fabric, and the impacts from increased built form and scale, Heritage Victoria have attached specific Permit Conditions based on the following:

  • ensuring that this significant heritage place is used and enjoyed
  • its key element being retained to tell the former use and established heritage significance values of the place
  • proper archival and conservation outcomes
  • purposeful interpretation programs

In summary, Heritage Victoria has concluded the following:

Heritage Victoria concluded that the strict Permit conditions will result in a development that ensures that this significant heritage place is used, enjoyed and publically activated; that its key elements are retained to tell the former use; and that the established heritage significance of the place is retained.

Heritage Victoria has ensured that there are sufficient physical retention and conservation outcomes to justify the scale of intervention, to offset the negative effects of loss of some fabric, of increased built form scale, and changes to the current industrial character of the site.

To read Heritage Victoria’s determination in full, click here. To read the formal determination and strict Permit Conditions prepared by Heritage Victoria, please click here and here. And finally, to read the original Heritage Impact Statement prepared by the developers supporting the re-development plans, please click here.

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