City faces new heritage threat

483 LaTrobe St

On September 20, the City of Melbourne’s Future Melbourne Committee will have yet another choice to make between the speculative needs of apartment developers and the those of this city’s heritage.

A fine, and relatively rare 1882 Victorian era factory-workshop at 488 La Trobe St by the notable architect Thomas Watts is destined for demolition without the City of Melbourne’s intervention.

The building began life in 1882 as The Spink Brothers’ tin works and has operated in many guises down the years, but is now set to end its 135 years under the wrecking ball while council watches.

Council officers’ recommendations are for approval of a proposed apartment project on the site, which will result in the complete demolition of the building.

This is in spite of the former workshop having been identified in council’s own recent West Melbourne heritage study as worthy of protection. At the conclusion of that study, council requested the Planning Minister Richard Wynne place interim heritage overlays on all the affected properties, but that is yet to be enacted.

This is a prime example of how we are gradually losing our heritage, one bad administrative decision at a time.

Council has identified this building as needing protection and there is a bit of paper on the minister’s desk which will grant that protection. But this building will live or die based on when that paper gets signed.

This is NOT the sort of heritage protection Melburnians expect from their representatives.

That is why at this October’s council election, a new team “The Heritage Agenda” are seeking to put voices on council that will stand up for what remains of Melbourne’s vital heritage fabric.

Our policies cover a full range of urban, heritage and retail initiatives that will enhance Melbourne’s urban realm for everyone who lives, works, retails or shops here.

www.bit.ly/HeritagePolicies

www.bit.ly/HeritageMelbourne

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