Major investments to protect Melbourne’s heritage

The City of Melbourne will invest in works to protect our city’s iconic landmarks for future generations, including the Melbourne Town Hall buildings, Queen Victoria Market and the Regent Theatre.

The works to preserve Melbourne’s heritage are outlined as part of major capital works investments in the City of Melbourne’s draft Annual Plan and Budget 2019-20.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said under the plans, the ground floor of what is known as the Town Hall Administration Building would be revitalised. It is part of an initial $4.5 million investment in a masterplan to restore and refurbish the 148-year-old building.

“Melbourne Town Hall is our city’s architectural jewel. Significant investment is required to make it more accessible and functional for the people who attend Council meetings and access our services every day,” the Lord Mayor said.

“A pilot project to revamp the ground floor and create a new public forum will commence later this year. What we would like to see is a new public forum for our key decision-making meetings to allow more people to attend and participate in the democratic process. There would also be a revamped customer service area to provide an improved experience for residents, ratepayers and visitors.”

“Following the pilot project, we will consider the need for works to restore Melbourne Town Hall buildings over the next six years. We’ve also earmarked a further $1.4 million towards progressing redevelopment of the adjoining Bourke Street precinct.”

The Lord Mayor said the City of Melbourne is continuing to progress the $250 million renewal of the Queen Victoria Market and recently received permission from Heritage Victoria to commence restoration works to the market’s open air heritage sheds.

“We will invest an initial $6.5 million this year for the staged on-site restoration of the heritage sheds. The total project requires an $11 million investment for conservation, restoration and structural enhancement works to the market’s open-air sheds and adjoining verandahs.”

“The restoration of the sheds is just one way we’re securing the Queen Victoria Market’s future while maintaining its heritage as a traditional open-air market. Further investments will be made towards improving storage, amenities, and waste and recycling facilities at the market, in accordance with the People’s Panel recommendations.”

“Queen Victoria Market has been a part of Melbourne for more than 140 years and we take our role as custodian of the National Heritage listed site very seriously. As we progress with renewal, we’re working to protect everything Melburnians love about the market while delivering modern facilities to make it work better for traders, customers and visitors,” the Lord Mayor said.

The City of Melbourne will also contribute $1.6 million toward refurbishing the historic Regent Theatre in partnership with the Victorian Government and the Marriner Group.

“The Regent is one of three interwar picture palaces in Melbourne and it seats more than 2,100 people. The investment will be put towards improvements to the dress circle, seating, public amenities and the entrance onto Collins Street, to ensure the 90-year-old Regent Theatre continues to be one of Melbourne’s premier venues.”

Chair of the Arts, Culture and Heritage portfolio, Councillor Rohan Leppert, said protecting Melbourne’s heritage was a key focus for the coming year as the city continues to grow and transform.

“We’ve worked with the Victorian Government to introduce interim Heritage Overlays for several individual sites and precincts in the Hoddle Grid, Southbank and the iconic Guildford and Hardware lanes area,” Cr Leppert said. “This year we will continue this work, implementing the Hoddle Grid Heritage Review and the Carlton Heritage Review, and commissioning reviews of North Melbourne and South Yarra.

“I am immensely proud that these heritage reviews are at last being translated into the planning scheme. In undertaking more heritage work than at any time in the past 30 years, we are bringing our controls up to date with community expectations. We are also providing clarity and certainty to landowners and investors about the significant places that individually and collectively contribute to the distinctiveness of Melbourne.

“We will continue to create incentives to preserve in our city’s heritage assets through the Melbourne Heritage Restoration Fund, a $600,000 multi-year fund introduced last year to support the restoration of heritage buildings.”

Successful recipients of the first round of funding included Mission to Seafarers in Docklands for the restoration of its historic weathervane.

“We’re committed to celebrating the Aboriginal history of Melbourne and will continue to work closely with Traditional Owner groups to share a greater understanding of significant Aboriginal heritage sites in the Hoddle Grid, including St Paul’s Cathedral, Old Melbourne Gaol and Old Treasury Building,” Councillor Leppert said.

Public submissions on the draft Annual Plan and Budget 2019-20 are open from Friday 10 May, until Friday 7 June. Submissions will be considered at a special meeting of the Future Melbourne Committee on Thursday 13 June 2019. To have your say, visit 

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