Objections to Forum Theatre hotel tower as Melburnians seek to save skyline

Objections to Forum Theatre hotel tower as Melburnians seek to save skyline
Objections to Forum Theatre hotel tower as Melburnians seek to save skyline

A development application for 150-162 Flinders Street and 17-25 Russell Street in Melbourne has been slammed by Melbourne Heritage Action (MHA) who say that while they’re not against development on the site, they believe that the Forum Hotel tower is inappropriate due to height and heritage concerns.

According to the permit application form, the site owner is looking to develop a multistorey building to the rear of the forum, including a residential hotel, dwellings, retail, office and business identification signs, as well as the refurbishment of the Forum Theatre and building and works to make alterations to adjacent roads. The permit was applied for late last year.

The 2,038 square metre 150-162 Flinders Street property was purchased for $6,000,000 in June 2011, according to RP Data.

Arguing on the basis of five points, the MHA said that the application should not be approved in a letter made to the Minister for Planning.

Their points of contention:

  1. The development ignores a height limit designed to maintain the heritage character of the area and keep other iconic landmarks in the skyline.

  2. It will be detrimental to Hosier Lane – an important cultural and tourist location.

  3. It has not been proven to be essential for the funding of restoration works (which MHA does welcome for the development).

  4. It may be detrimental to the Forum itself and Cavendish House.

  5. It does not conform to some aspects of the planning scheme.

“We are worried that the issue of restoration is being used to sugar-coat what is essentially an inappropriate development intended solely at maximising economic return in a sensitive area,” writes MHA president Tristan Davies in his objection.

He further notes that any development on the site should conform to the 40 metre height limit and “not something three times the limit, dominating over some of our most important heritage landmarks in flagrant violation of the Melbourne Planning scheme.”

Urban Melbourne notes that the tower would sit up to 107 metres high under the proposal.

According to the Department of Planning and Community Development website, the applicant for the development is Bill Kusznirczuk, renowned urban planning expert and managing director of Clement Stone Town Planners who is no stranger to arguments for and against proposals.

Picture courtesy of wikipedia/creative commons.

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

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New Developments Melbourne

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