Heritage push for Queen St

By Sean Car

The City of Melbourne has welcomed a recommendation to extend heritage protections at the Queen Victoria Market (QVM) to include a 200-metre section of Queen St on the Victorian Heritage Register. 

The strip of Queen St dividing the market (between Therry and Victoria streets) is the only section of the QVM precinct not included on the state’s Register. However, the same section is included as part of the market’s National Heritage Listing. 

Heritage Council Victoria publicly advertised the recommendation from the executive director of Heritage Victoria Steven Avery on July 19, in accordance with section 41 of the Heritage Act 2017.

A council spokesperson told CBD News that the recommendation would bring the market’s registration on the Victorian Heritage Register in line with the national listing. 

“As the custodians of Queen Victoria Market, we are committed to protecting its unique heritage – that is why we applied for and secured National Heritage Listing of the market,” the spokesperson said. 

“Through City of Melbourne’s $250 million QVM renewal, we are protecting the very things the National Heritage Listing recognises including preserving the market’s long history, restoring its heritage buildings and securing its place as a traditional open-air market.”

The inclusion of the strip of Queen St on the state’s Register has been pushed by The Friends of QVM, who say the listing adds another layer of protection to what is “vital to the traffic flow of customers across the market”. 

A spokesperson for Heritage Victoria said that the current extent of registration for QVM comprised two separate blocks and the inclusion of the northern portion of Queen St was considered important for protection, conservation and connectivity. 

The group’s spokesperson Mary-Lou Howie said she hoped the move would help prevent any inappropriate development from taking place on Queen St as part of the council’s plans to renew the market. 

The City of Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal Master Plan does earmark the section of Queen St to be pedestrianised by removing parking and vehicular traffic. A 2016 makeover plan also included a proposal for a glasshouse pavilion to be constructed on Queen St, which has been strongly opposed by Friends of QVM and many market traders. 

The City of Melbourne told CBD News that it didn’t expect the heritage recommendation would impact its plans for renewal, which included a new waste management and loading facility on Queen St.

“We anticipated this process and, as with every heritage and planning approval process, we will work through any additional approvals required efficiently so we can get on with delivering renewal and protecting the market for future generations,” a council spokesperson said. 

“We do not expect that an extension of the heritage area, as proposed, will significantly change the project timelines.”

“The plans for delivery of market infrastructure, as approved by council in April 2019, included a new facility at the northern end of Queen St where the heritage nomination is proposed to be extended.”

“This building would provide centralised waste management and loading services for the market and was a key recommendation of the People’s Panel process.”

“The 2015 Master Plan included key improvements such as the enhancement of public space on Queen Street between the upper and lower markets and the reduction of vehicular traffic on Queen Street for improved public safety and visitor experience.”

The recommendation will be advertised for 60 days from July 19 and submissions can be made to the Heritage Council of Victoria via the following link: 

heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/registrations-reviews/executive-director-recommendations/

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