MHA has sent a series of questions about heritage and planning to candidates in the Victorian State Election. The questions have been sent to the candidates standing for the seat of Melbourne (Labor, Liberal, Greens, Sex Party) and to the current Minister for Planning Matthew Guy, and the shadow Minister for Planning Brian Tee.
The questions are below and we will add responses from candidates when we receive them. Feel free to add your questions in the comments section below.
As an organisation dedicated to the protection of the wonderfully rich heritage of Melbourne’s CBD, from individual buildings to precincts and laneways, we are concerned that much of it is under threat. In light of the coming November election we would like to ask you to respond to the following questions:
Do you think the built heritage of the CBD is worthy of preservation?
Do you believe that the preservation of just the front walls of heritage buildings (façadism) as part of larger developments should become standard heritage practice?
Do you think that heritage buildings and streetscapes in the CBD are sometimes overly dominated by large new developments?
Do you think that modernist post WW2 buildings are worthy of heritage protection?
Should the height limits in the CBD, which also serve to protect heritage precincts, be more strictly enforced? For instance, should they all return to the mandatory status they had before 1999, as has recently happened for the Bourke Hill precinct?
What is your opinion of the current approach to planning which see responsibility for planning approvals split between the Planning Minister’s Office (the 25 000 sqm rule) and the City of Melbourne? Would you support lifting the threshold above 25 000 sqm and making the process by which the Minister grants permits more transparent? Or perhaps establishing a new joint City of Melbourne and State Government Committee (on the Sydney model) that would become the Responsible Authority for large-scale new developments in Melbourne?
What is your position on Clause 73 1(b) of the Heritage Act, which specifically requires Heritage Victoria to take ‘undue financial hardship’ into account (something which does not apply to local heritage controls)? Should the whole permit process instead be devolved to Local Government, in order to attain some consistency in heritage decisions?