Proposed Temporary Pavilion and Removal of Trees at Queen Victoria Market

The RHSV opposes this vandalism in the strongest terms.

the proposal is deleterious to the historic character of the market and to the current and future functioning of the market. It should be rejected.

15 February 2018


Queen Victoria Market
Location: Melbourne 

Mr Nicholas McLennan,
Principal Urban Planner,
City Operations Group,
City of Melbourne,
Council House 2, 240 Little Collins Street,
Melbourne 3000.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Dear Mr McLennan,


I write as Chair of the RHSV’s Heritage Committee to object to this proposal.

The Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV) is the peak body representing approximately 340 community historical societies throughout the state. It has been active on history and heritage issues since its formation in 1909. The Heritage Committee is accountable to RHSV Council and has specific responsibility for preparing submissions and liaising with other relevant heritage bodies concerning the uses and preservation of heritage-protected buildings and sites.

The RHSV objects in the first instance to Council’s being the responsible authority for this Council proposal. Surely, in a matter of such significance for the City, the decision should be referred to an independent body.

The RHSV objects to the proposal in its totality on the grounds that it is completely unnecessary. Consonant with our strong objection to the proposed redevelopment of the Queen Victoria Market (submitted to Heritage Victoria and enclosed for your attention), and in particular to the relegation of support activities to an underground area, we suggest that the proposed pavillion would not be required if the sheds were renovated on a staged basis. Given that many traders have been squeezed out of the market, there would be ample room to accommodate those remaining while each shed is renovated.

The proposal to excavate three levels below the sheds and relocate services there was driven by the former Lord Mayor’s vision, to ‘reduce servicing intrusions in public areas’ and create ‘a brighter, lighter, cleaner, greener and more pleasant environment that is clearly historic, yet subtly contemporary’.1  Faced with public revulsion at the sterilisation of the Queen Victoria Market, Council retreated. The proposed underground redevelopment no longer has any justification. The proposed pavillion is thus unnecessary. The expenditure of $5.5 million on a ‘temporary’ facility is a waste of money.

If a permit is nevertheless granted, we submit that it must include a requirement to demolish the structure within five years. The proposal is to build a modern structure completely out of character with the heritage area and to place it at the heart of the historic building fabric. It would constitute such an egregious intrusion into the heritage area that its continuation cannot be countenanced. If Council truly intend it to be temporary, then inserting a requirement to demolish it in five years
cannot be refused.

The RHSV objects not only to the proposal in its totality, but also on the following specific grounds:

• The loss of seven plane trees is unacceptable. To demolish seven mature trees providing valuable shade and character at the heart of the market would be appalling, particularly given that it would be to make way for a temporary structure. The only justification given is the ‘recommendations of the both the project arborist (Tree Logic) and Council’s arborist’. These reports are not available on the Council web site, but we note that, with the original proposal for a much larger pavillion, the trees were to be cared for and maintained against incidental damage during construction! It beggars belief that suddenly a problem has been detected in the trees. The RHSV opposes this vandalism in the strongest terms.

• The design is completely at odds with the market and even if temporary will impact the market adversely. The five-year period where large parts of the market would be construction sites will make it very difficult to maintain the market’s viability, and insertion of such a structure at the heart of the market, dividing the fresh food stalls from the meat and fish market and the deli, would compound the effect.

In short, the proposal is deleterious to the historic character of the market and to the current and future functioning of the market. It should be rejected.

Yours faithfully,

(Professor) Charles Sowerwine,
Chair, Heritage Committee,
Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

Reference:1 Precinct Renewal Master Plan (approved MCC 28 July 2015), pp. 16, 32.


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