Heritage protection sought in race to save the Greyhound

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Council Statement

Port Phillip Council is continuing its fight for heritage protection for the Greyhound Hotel as the clock ticks down to its likely demolition.

Mayor Bernadene Voss said the building could be demolished in April as applications for permits have been received to undertake works (such as raising hoardings) at the site from 26 April. As there is no heritage overlay, a building permit for demolition issued by a private building surveyor last June remains valid.

Council decided on April 19,2017 to again request the Planning Minister to apply an interim heritage overlay to the Brighton Road property while permanent controls are progressed. This follows Council receiving an independent consultant’s report which found the St Kilda landmark met local heritage requirements.

“The Minister refused our first request for interim controls in February on grounds including a heritage assessment had not been undertaken,” Cr Voss said.

“This really is a race against time to save the Greyhound as the works applications indicate demolition could be imminent. We believe the heritage consultant’s report warrants reconsideration of our call for heritage protection and hope the Minister will quickly implement interim controls before it is too late.”

Cr David Brand said: “Our community has made clear they greatly value the Greyhound and want us to pursue every avenue to stop this local icon from disappearing off the St Kilda urban landscape.”

The consultant’s reasons for finding the Greyhound Hotel holds local historic and social significance included:

“It is one of a few remaining buildings in Port Phillip which reflects the history of Victorian hotels generally but more locally charts the changing fortunes of St Kilda, and specifically the history of the Victorian LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer) community.”

“The St Kilda community values the Greyhound as an historic landmark that has had a long and continuous local presence as a public meeting place. The local community also values it as a longstanding LGBTIQ community meeting place and entertainment venue which reflects St Kilda’s welcoming and multifaceted community.”

The report’s conservation recommendations for any redevelopment of the site ranged from retaining the exterior’s Art Deco styling to maintaining public access and use of the hotel as a social meeting place.

The Greyhound opened in 1853 and was remodelled in 1936-37. The hotel closed in January this year after its owners cited insolvency.

Later that month, Council rejected a planning application for an eight storey apartment building on the site on grounds including the proposed development was too high, would affect amenity and should incorporate all or part of the existing building. The application is based on the complete demolition of the hotel. Council’s application refusal is being appealed. The case is due to be heard before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal over three days from 26 June 2017.

Council will be reviewing the architectural and social significance of buildings and places within the City to more proactively identify places of social heritage value.

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