On 16, 17 and 28 May 2019, the Heritage Council of Victoria conducted a Hearing to review Heritage Victoria’s 01 October, 2018, determination not to permit the childcare-carpark redevelopment of Church Square. That review is now complete and the Heritage Council Committee that conducted the review, has released its decision made on 5 August 2019. It reads:
Affirm determination under review
After considering all submissions received in relation to the permit review, and after conducting a hearing pursuant to Section 108 of the Heritage Act 2017, the Heritage Council has determined, pursuant to Section 108(7)(a), to affirm the determination under review and refuse to issue Permit No. P28298, in respect of the Christ Church Complex located at 14 Acland Street and 1 St Leonards Avenue, St Kilda.
Jennifer Moles (Chair)
Decision Date – 5 August 2019
The Heritage Council affirms the determination by Heritage Victoria not to permit the childcare-carpark redevelopment at Church Square. We can breathe.
Please read the Committee’s decision in full here.
It is clear in our reading of the decision, that if it were not for the Committee’s adept and resolute grasp of the site’s significance, made ever-present by the Executive Director’s submissions and presentation at the Hearing, the permit would have been granted. Submissions made by additional hearing participants appear to have failed in their arguments.
It is sobering to learn of a second site visit by the Committee on 4 June 2019, a week after the Hearing concluded. If the Committee was, in fact, on the brink of rescinding the earlier determination to grant the permit instead, it seems to have given the site, itself, the decisive last word.
We must all, therefore, be thankful to Committee members Jennifer Moles, Louise Honman and Rueben Berg for their indefatigable effort to serve the heritage of Church Square, justly; as we are the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria.
We wish also to thank the Royal Historical Society of Victoria for its prompt, proactive and nimble response to our request to vet the research compiled for Artefact Church Square. We thank Rosemary Cameron in particular and Dr Andrew Lemon, especially, for the precision and diligence with which he attended his thorough assessment. Dr Lemon was once a member of the Heritage Council (1996–2003), editor of the Victorian Historical Journal (1990–99) and president of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (2009–13). It is, therefore, an extraordinary privilege to have had Dr Lemon assess our research if not, at the time, a frightening prospect.
Having sought preliminary advice for a permit from Heritage Victoria on 7 May 2019, Artefact Church Square submitted this research as an in-depth report on the site’s significance. It formed the basis of our alternative proposal.