Call for Action| Office proposal completely dominates historic precinct

Melbourne Heritage Action needs your help!

We have sent our objection to the new ISPT development planned for the corner of Lt Lonsdale and Spring St. Not only will the proposed office block involve the facadism of the 1925 Elms Family Hotel, it will dominate other heritage buildings on the site, like the 1913 Mission Hall, and the cottage on Casselden Place behind. It will also destroy some of the last remnants of the famous (infamous!) ‘Little Lon’ district, including the last section of Griffin Lane, and two small-scale 1920s red brick buildings that do not have individual heritage protection.

The proposed building

Melbourne Heritage Action believes that the precinct as a whole, from the Mission in Spring Street down to Oddfellows Hotel, is one that should obviously have been made a Heritage Precinct many years ago. This group of buildings not only creates an area and streetscape that hasn’t changed since the 1920s, but is the largest intact remnant of the notorious ‘Little Lon’ area. It includes one of Melbourne’s oldest hotel buildings, the only remaining laneway house, the stubs of three laneways, a Mission to the poor, a working man’s pub (only just closed), and light industrial buildings from the 1880s to the 1920s. It is an area where many specific events associated with the ‘notorious’ nature of the precinct can be located, the result of the poverty and marginalisation of many of the residents or visitors to Melbourne’s red light district.

We need you to add your voice to object to this inappropriate proposal. The more objections, the better.



Below is a proposed text you can send, but feel free to add your own words to it. You can read our full objection here MHA objection to 271 Spring Street

Send to Planning, City of Melbourne –

Re: TP 2016-430, 267-271 Spring Street demolition and construction of a multi-storey (office) building
I would like to register my strong objection to this proposal.
The office building as proposed would leave only the walls of the 1925 Elms Family Hotel intact (complete facadism should never be allowed), and would see a large boxy office block leaning out over what would be left of the hotel, and over the 1913 Mission Hall building, in the most dominating manner imaginable. This is a very unsympathetic treatment of heritage buildings. Any development here should be further setback so as not to dominate, and retain more than just the facade of the hotel building.
In fact perhaps this development should not go ahead at all. This whole area is the largest intact remnant of the notorious ‘Little Lon’ district, and really should be a heritage precinct, extending down to the 1850s Oddfellows Hotel, with all the buildings and laneways, and front and rear facades retained as far as possible.
This development will erase a laneway and two industrial buildings, and totally dominate the remaining part of the ‘Little Lon’ area, especially  Casselden Place, which has the last remaining ‘laneway’ cottage.
Council should refuse the application, and instead start the process to create the “Casselden Place heritage precinct’.

3 thoughts on “Call for Action| Office proposal completely dominates historic precinct

  1. Residents from all parts of the City of Melbourne, please join in the fight before Melbourne’s much loved heritage is disrespected forever. If the City of Melbourne approves this inappropriate development then make sure that the Councillors are not elected in November.
    The proposal is distasteful and disrespectful. No setbacks from the heritage facade along Little Lonsdale Street? Disgraceful. Everyone knows you need at least 4-6 metre setbacks along heritage facades. The skyscraper colours and materials are heavy and dominate the beautiful heritage buildings. As custodian of Melbourne’s much loved heritage, ISPT should sell the properties to someone else if they have no interest in respecting them.


  2. Heritage properties should be maintained and valued. This proposal is ugly and totally out of place in this historic area. Old buildings were built solidly and age gracefully. New buildings age quickly and unattractively. When will some common sense come in to these decisions. There are more than enough apartments in the CBD now we need to encourage communities in the suburbs and beyond.


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