Feature Image: Proposed Re-development at Robur Tea Building. Source: Snohetta
The National Trust believes, when properly considered and integrated into planning and development, heritage provides an opportunity for thoughtful and innovative design solutions that protect what the community values and provide great places to live, work and play. We support the adaptive reuse of heritage buildings and planning proposals that ensure they have an ongoing purpose and remain viable assets to their communities, while their heritage values remain respected and safeguarded.
However, recently there has been a increasing trend of applications for high tower developments at sites on the Victorian Heritage Register in and around the Melbourne CBD that are not demonstrating this approach.
Right Image: Render of proposed redevelopment at No.2 Goods Shed. Source Bates Smart
The appeal of a recent permit refusal at the Robur Tea Building, is the latest of several pushes for dense development applications at VHR sites in and around the Melbourne CBD.
Since the extraordinary decision by Richard Wynne, the previous Minister for Planning, to call-in the application for the redevelopment of No. 1 Spring Street in 2021, several applications claiming unsympathetic development of other State listed heritage buildings have been advertised, refused by Heritage Victoria, and now appealed by the applicant.
There is no indication that the appeal process for the No.2 Goods Shed and Robur Tea Building permits are seeking a call-in by the planning minister. However, the mounting pressures of appealing these permit refusals are setting a concerning precedent for future developments at heritage sites, and could see the integrity of the state heritage registered places in the CBD undermined.
Left Image: Render of proposed redevelopment at 1 Spring Street. Source: ingenhoven + Architectus