Saturday, January 14, 2006

Missing but not forgotten - Melbourne's heritage worth preserving

What happened to Melbourne's veranda policy?

What ever happened to Melbourne's veranda policy?
The City of Melbourne in response to community concern at the need to protect and restore Melbourne's inner city Victorian streetscapes commissioned heritage architect Meredith Gould to develop a veranda policy. The policy document written by Ms Gould was well received and supported by the City Council who adopted the document as a planning guideline for Melbourne's future development.

Prior to the adoption of this policy City of Melbourne's Rob Adams wanted to approve the construction of a number of private balconies above the foot path in Lygon Street. Rob Adams had approved similar balconies in Swanston Street. (Swanston Street's Victorian verandas were removed, in the lead-up to the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, as part of its modernisation programme.)
The construction of above the footpath balconies would have been the death of Lygon Street's Victorian streetscape as historic verandas would have be demolished to make way for Rob's folly in urban design and town planning.

Thankfully we were in a position at the time to put a halt to this act of vandalism proposed by the City of Melbourne's Urban Design department.
The policy document produced by Meredith Gould saw the City of Melbourne take a more positive and constructive approach to preserving Melbourne's architectural history which has since seen a number of Lygon street's heritage verandas restored, adding to the ambiance of this world famous tourist precinct.

Strangely the Council's policy document can not be found anywhere on the City Council's web site. Missing but not forgotten. Could it be that Rob Adams is just bidding his time hoping that the community will forget about this policy document that was incorporated into Melbourne's Planning scheme would be forgotten so he could yet again propose the destruction of Melbourne's Victorian heritage?

We call on the City Council to publish this document along with other planning guidelines on it web site without delay.

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