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Image © Peddle Thorp

UNESCO World Heritage listing for the Vic?

Seems quite the paradox! A lead image showing a shiny new mixed-use development cut with the title suggesting UNESCO World Heritage listing for the existing Queen Victoria Market. Change is inevitable it seems for the Vic as City of Melbourne yesterday went into overdrive, banging the drums and heralding a second phase of community consultation for the icon's redevelopment.

All the juicy questions and intended answers regarding City of Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market Phase 2 can be found here.

Image © City of Melbourne

In brief, the development seeks the following:

  • Remove cars from public spaces to make room for more retail, hospitality and events. A new below ground area could accommodate the market’s customer car park, along with new storage and operational facilities, making it more convenient for shoppers and traders.
  • Retain and enhance the authentic market character and experience and explore opportunities for new retail, hospitality, events and activities.
  • Create a major new public open space for the market and the city’s north.
  • Connect Franklin Street to Dudley Street to improve traffic connections around the market, reducing congestion and making it easier for people to move around. Connecting Franklin and Dudley streets will link the market with the central city and surrounding neighbourhood.
  • Create land suitable for mixed-use development, with funds raised through the development of land to the market’s south directed to the market renewal project

Here's another question: will the below ground car park entry be within the vicinity of Victoria and Peel? Traffic backs up quite considerably during peak times around the market, surely the new car park facility won't transplant a bank of waiting cars from a barely manageable entry at Franklin Street further north to the intersection of Peel and Victoria. Then again maybe that's nothing new!

Victoria Street in peak hour. Image © Peter Maltezos

Once said and done, "The City of Melbourne will seek UNESCO World Heritage Listing for Queen Victoria Market at the conclusion of the renewal process, so any plans for this are at a very early stage," and would likely centre around a cultural listing.

As for the expected large-scale, mixed-use development fronting a remodelled Franklin Street and its unnamed counterpart, Peddle Thorp have devised a concept design for the island site and describe it as follows:

Victoria Market is a commercial and 700+ apartment development spread over two towers, with an active street level of retail, cafe and amenities, complementing the Queen Victoria Market across the road. Ground level also houses art incubators which together with the retail opportunities presents residents with a vibrant place to live in.

The lower levels of each tower are designed to cater for boutique commercial opportunities whilst the floors above will house residential apartments with terrace spaces that allow for open visual connections with the tapestry of market life below.

Image © Peddle Thorp

Art incubators, retail spaces to service the area's exploding population, a new public space/park and enhanced amenity - surely these are noble aspirations? Clearly not in everyone's eyes; for some light relief peruse the comments section of The Age's related piece yesterday... and no you can't UNESCO World Heritage list an open air car park.

1 comment

John Price's picture

The website SaveQVM.com contains information about the Renewal proposals as far as is known in public.

There are three main objections to the current proposals: They involve

Sale of Public Lands
Demolition of old buildings and
Building a new road across the Old Melbourne Cemetery

The reasons for the objections are

• Public land in the CBD should not be sold until proper serious public use is identified - it should not be sold just to help out the council Budget. (The likely revenue from the sale has been stated by Councillor Mayne to be only a small part of the project cost.)
• Demolition of old buildings includes removal of A B and C sheds to make way for the Underground Car Park. However these sheds can't be rebuilt as they are now, since an underground car park has surface structures such as ventilation shafts, escape stairways and entrance ramps. The remaining 1929 wholesale market buildings on Franklin St are also marked as a possible development site.
• A road joining the heavily trafficked Dudley St and Victoria St is completely unwarranted under any sensible city design principals. It is also unnecessary. The current Council statements about the reasons for this road are wrong or misleading.

For further information see SaveQVM.com

You can still see the Council brochure for the second round of “consultation” on http://participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/

John Price

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