Proposal for multi-level car park at Ringwood threatens Former Blood Brothers Store


In September, the Jubilee Park Residents Group and the Ringwood District Historical Society alerted the National Trust to a proposal by Maroondah City Council for a multi-level carpark at 1 and 1A Bedford Road, Ringwood, a site which was purchased by Council in February 2020.

The proposed site includes the Former Blood Brothers Store, which is covered by a Heritage Overlay (HO5) in the Maroondah City Council Planning Scheme. The Statement of Significance notes that “It is architecturally significant as a rare and relatively intact rural Edwardian corner shop” and that it is “socially significant as known and valued as a landmark used by the community for orientation and part of the sense of identity of the place” (Victorian Heritage Database).

Ringwood carpark artist impression

While Council has confirmed that they are in an “early design and feasibility phase”, they also note on their website that, “Council is making it a priority to ensure the carparks are designed and constructed as quickly as possible”, and that “construction is expected to commence in early to mid-2021″.

We feel strongly that Council has not given adequate consideration to the heritage impacts this proposal will have on the Former Blood Brothers Store, and community concerns regarding this matter.

Council has confirmed that they will be commissioning a planning report to inform a future planning permit application, including a heritage assessment of the Blood Brothers Store. However, we are concerned that this approach is counter to best practice in heritage management, including the process outlined in the Burra Charter (The ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance), which holds that an understanding of cultural significance for a place should be established prior to decisions regarding its management.

We are concerned that the steps taken by Council to facilitate this development appear to pre-empt Council’s own planning processes, and the outcome of the heritage assessment, presenting the development as a fait accompli, and undermining public confidence in the planning process.

We have written to Maroondah City Council urging them to undertake further community consultation before proceeding with this proposed development, and prior to the lodgement of a planning application.

Read our full submission to Council here.

5 Comments

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  1. 1
    Russ Haines

    Many thanks to the National Trust for taking up this advocacy on our behalf. This building was built in 1913 and has the credentials to be saved. At this stage, the Maroondah City Council has largely ignored public support and we are worried that they are in a position to be both owner of the underlying property and, at the same time, judge and jury of the fate of this historic shop.
    Russ Haines, President, Ringwood & District Historical Society

  2. 2
    Robert New

    In my near thirty years employed mostly under the City of Ringwood (and later Maroondah CC) this building was recognised for its cultural value to the Ringwood community and survived development of the roads and carparks to this day.
    If the site is developed as a carpark every effort should be made to relocate the building to a suitable site to preserve its cultural significance.

  3. 3
    Russ Read

    Suggest re erection on the forecourt of the now empty Council offices . Could be an excellent coffee shop. Brilliant view of Dandenongs.

  4. 4
    Paula Herlihy

    If you travel in Singapore and some other Asian countries (thinking of KL and Malacca as well) the loss of charm and the minimal gains made by the speed and lower cost of building from a scorched earth destruction is regretted in the years that follow. One modern city looks just like the next, so why go there? Singapore is attempting to create charm now the real charm is gone. Here we have charm in abundance – an ideal coffee house! In design and situation. Too bad there aren’t architects able to take up the challenge and create a design to incorporate this, the way church architects seem to be able to. I lament the lack of talent! I’m not surprised politicians and council employees can’t understand what makes people want to visit a locality! They’ll just blame it all on covid I guess. But maybe this is just a car park for people travelling through on the train? Who’ll want to visit Ringwood?

  5. 5
    Ms Robyn Taylor

    I understand the need for carparks adjacent to hub railway stations, however I am disappointed to learn of the threat of yet another piece of Ringwood’s heritage disappearing. I lament the old familiar buildings of my past which give a framework of place. Ringwood has now next to nothing left of the place I knew. The Ringwood Baths, the old Eastland facade, and now a last example of its corner store to be flattened if the development is approved. I agree with an earlier correspondent, if Blood Bros store has to be removed, it must be relocated/ rebuilt somewhere else in Ringwood so our descendants can at least have an existing example of a township building, rather that viewing them in photographic form.

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