The National Trust has made a submission to a Lendlease permit application for development of the Southern Precinct of Queen Victoria Market.
The permit application, submitted to Heritage Victoria, includes construction of two multi-level towers (T1 and T2) to the southern edge of the Queen Victoria Market on Franklin Street (only partially within the extent of VHR registration), works to the Franklin Street Stores, demolition works to the existing at-grade market carpark and development of a new public open space (Market Square) in its place.
The National Trust conditionally supports the development of Market Square and the adaptive reuse of the Franklin Street Stores. However, we strongly oppose the partial demolition of the Franklin Street Stores canopy, as well as the height, bulk and cantilever of the proposed T1 and T2 developments, on the basis they would have an adverse and irreversible impact on the heritage significance of the Market. We believe that this impact is not justified by the case for reasonable or economic use arguments in the permit application.
In 2017 the National Trust conditionally supported the Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal. The National Trust continues to consult with the City of Melbourne Market Renewal team to provide input and advocate for positive heritage outcomes on the site.
The permit application concerns the implementation of key outcomes that were terms of a 2014 agreement between the City of Melbourne and the State Government as part of the Market Renewal. Additionally, the proposal is subject to the requirements of a Development Plan Overlay (DPO11), and outcomes of the Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal Master Plan.
To support the market renewal, Crown land south of the Franklin Street Stores was transferred to the City of Melbourne with plans that the land would be developed. Funds from this development are to be reinvested into the market, and to ensure the renewal program incurs no cost to the Government.
The National Trust submission supports the proposal for the replacement of the open-air carpark with Market Square. However, we have concerns regarding certainty around the design and consultation process for this new public open space. The design of Market Square is subject to change pending City of Melbourne led community consultation for the site. We have requested greater transparency regarding what design elements are subject to change and what level of public interpretation of the Old Melbourne Cemetery is expected, which will lie under the proposed Market Square.
Additionally, we have raised concerns regarding the readability of the Franklin Street Stores as the southern extent of the Market, due to the public open space visually excising the Stores from the rest of the Market site.
We support the proposed adaptive reuse of the Franklin Street Stores, to convert them into retail outlets as with other Market Renewal outcomes, the Stores’ will no longer be able to fulfil their previous role as storage sites for market traders.
However, the National Trust objects to the temporary and permanent demolition of the Franklin Street Stores canopy to facilitate the encroachment and cantilever of the T1 and T2 tower developments behind the Stores.
We find it concerning that the justification for this demolition is based on the requirements of constructing the towers and their cantilever over the Stores. The National Trust believes these design elements are a best development values based outcome, rather than a best heritage values based outcome. We submit that the demolition of heritage fabric should not be required to facilitate the outcomes of the proposed development and we argue alternatives to this demolition should be fully explored.
Lastly, we object to the scale of development proposed behind the Franklin Street Stores. The bulk, height and encroachment of the proposed towers on the Stores overwhelms the Market and we believe these elements must be greatly reduced to minimise the impacts of the new development on the state and national heritage values of the Market complex. The proximity of the towers and their immense height produces a wall effect on the southern boundary, significantly disrupting the traditionally low scale density sightlines of the site. We believe transition from the higher built form of the central city to the very low scale of the Market will be starkly disrupted if the proposed tower developments are approved.
Following resolution of the Heritage Victoria permit application, the remaining Southern Precinct development works including construction of developments outside the extent of VHR registration (T1, T2, T3, and the Queens Corner Building), will require planning approval by the City of Melbourne. These works are subject to a Development Plan Overlay (DPO11) created in response to the renewal project.
The full scope of the Development Plan works will also be the subject of a self-assessment under the EPBC Act due to the national heritage listing of QVM, which may trigger the proposal to require formal referral and approval from the environment minister. The referral process includes a phase of public comment for a 10 day period where the referral is published on the EPBC Act portal.
The National Trust has produced a timeline explaining key outcomes since the agreement that set the Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal program in motion nearly ten years ago.
Read our full submission here.
Cover image: QVM Southern Precinct proposal birds eye render. Source: Lendlease