CoRBA values our City’s architectural heritage, one of the City of Melbourne’s principal cultural assets. Members share a commitment to safeguarding what makes Melbourne the beautiful and architecturally significant city it is. Our built heritage is a financial asset, in that it attracts many tourists to Melbourne.
We have much to appreciate in Melbourne: the Royal Exhibition Building together with Carlton Gardens, Flinders St Station, Parliament, State Library, the Block and Royal Arcades, Manchester Unity Building, Hosier Lane and other precincts. (hyperlinks) Even the quality and diversity remaining in our domestic architecture gives us pride.
The gardens that ring our City provide welcome public space and offer a balance between the stresses of daily life and relaxation. Pressures to transfer these spaces to commercial use have combined with Melbourne’s long drought to threaten these important assets.
CoRBA argues we must remain vigilant to the compromise or destruction of this heritage. We acknowledge that heritage is not solely about preserving old buildings in aspic but may also involve blending of the old with the new.
Recent decisions adversely impacting our heritage for short-term profit, often ignoring the value of what Melbourne treasures is of urgent concern. Too often, planning decisions are made without consulting those they most directly affect. Such shortsighted policies place our important buildings and public spaces in jeopardy.
Who better to consult and monitor Melbourne heritage issues than those who live, work or have businesses in the City?
New threats continually emerge. There has been a serious degradation in support from the State Government recently. Heritage Victoria, a State Government instrumentality, now evaluates development applications on their economic viability as well as heritage values.
CoRBA condemns the continual over-riding of existing heritage constraints to allow new projects and developments that flout the rules.
Recent examples include the:
‣Loss of Lonsdale House,
‣Current inappropriate plans for the Windsor Hotel re-development,
‣Decay of the Princess Mary Club,
‣Degradation of the World-Heritage listed Carlton Gardens,
‣Significant loss of parts of Royal Park for the Royal Children’s Hospital and Commonwealth Games village.
‣Threat to Yarra Park by continuing car parking.
While the Melbourne Council has announced a review of the Melbourne Heritage Plan in the Capital City Zone, questions arise as to whether Council has the power to counter the State Government’s persistently pro-development stance.
CoRBA calls for:
‣Recognition at all levels of Government of Melbourne’s architectural heritage
‣Consultation with residents and businesses on development that affect this heritage
‣Protection of existing public space from conversion to commercial uses
‣Control over planning and development matters to properly elected and representative bodies