Rue Bebelons closing and 1851 shops on Swanston St to be facaded

Melbourne Heritage Action has a letter in The Age today drawing attention to the closure of popular cafe/bar Rue Bebelons due to a development that will also largely destroy one of Swanston Streets oldest shop buildings. This is another case of destruction of Melbourne’s Heritage that could have been prevented if the planning minister had given the 99 buildings, recommended for heritage protection last year by the City of Melbourne, interim protection, with no heritage protection we’re lucky it isn’t being totally demolished.

cafe-part-to-be-demolished
Rue Bebelons cafe – to be demolished.

MHA letter to the editor:

Loss of history

MELBOURNE Heritage Action is saddened that Rue Bebelons will close (The Age, 16/1). The city will lose another creative cafe/bar to a development that will disfigure one of the oldest (1851) shop buildings, reducing much to a facade. We opposed the permit; however, without an official heritage listing, the City of Melbourne had to allow it. These shops are among the 99 buildings recommended for heritage protection by the City of Melbourne last year, but the list has not been ”signed off” by the Planning Minister and it is shrinking. These 1851 shops join the 1876 Celtic Club and the 1858 Royal Saxon Hotel, also threatened with facadism, and the 1919 VD clinic in Little Lonsdale Street that may be demolished. Is the minister deliberately delaying heritage listing approval to allow free rein for these projects?

Rupert Mann, President, Melbourne Heritage Action Group

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/letters/a-betrayal-of-human-rights-20130116-2cu6g.html#ixzz2ICJyJVeE

Below are some images of the planned development for 323 Swanston Street, part of a terrace built in 1851. A permit has been issued for a boxy extension and part facading. The main area of Rue Bebelons will be totally demolished, and historic upstairs event room lost to facadism. More images below.

View of the 1851 shops buildings from Swanston St.
View of the 1851 shops buildings from Swanston St.
New plans (as submitted for permit, may not be exact final plan) with three storey addition to the rear, and large new shopfronts.
Side elevation from Lt Lonsdale St showing how close new tall construction is to the Swanston Street facade.
New plans (as submitted for permit, may not be exact final plan) with three storey addition to the rear, and large new shopfronts.
New plans (as submitted for permit, may not be exact final plan) with three storey addition to the rear, and large new shopfronts.
Overhead view showing how addition will completely dominate 1851 shop building.
Overhead view showing how addition will completely dominate 1851 shop building.
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