The Age is today reporting on the destruction of the C-graded, but unprotected facade of the former Robb’s building near the corner of King and Collins Street as part of Grollo Corporation’s Rialto redevelopment.
The annex is all that remains of the grand Robb’s building, which was itself demolished for the original Rialto development in the 1980s. At the time, the retention of the annex in perpetuity was supposed to compensate for the loss of the main building, a small gift to the city, which the Grollos have now seen fit to unilaterally withdraw.
There can be no argument the demolition of the annex is in any way necessary given the size of the total development site.
This situation highlights the dire urgency with which the City of Melbourne needs to conduct a comprehensive city-wide heritage review. MHA has identified hundreds of recognised, graded heritage structures in the CBD and Southbank that similar to the Robb’s annex have NO HERITAGE PROTECTION IN LAW.
The City of Melbourne has a duty of care of all the graded heritage structures within its boundaries. Council staff simply waving through the demolition of C-graded heritage structures coupled with the ineffective notification that the developer’s plans even included such intentions have led to a woeful outcome here, and there is no reason not to expect more of this in future.
MHA calls on the City of Melbourne to:
- Immediately order the reinstatement of the Robb’s annex facade
- Investigate the internal decision-making and public notice processes leading to this decision, with a view to strengthening the value placed on heritage through such processes
- Conduct an urgent and comprehensive heritage survey of the entire CBD and Southbank areas
Please contact MHA for further information.