Rogue developers who ignored a heritage overlay and demolished a 159-year-old pub in Melbourne are now trying to avoid rebuilding it.

Lawyers for the developers called an order to rebuild the Corkman Irish Pub "vague, imprecise and incapable of being complied with" in a document filed to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne ordered the developers to rebuild the pub, which was illegally demolished in October, and they originally wrote a letter promising to put it back up.

But in the statement of grounds obtained by The Age, the developers' lawyers say the heritage values of the 19th-century hotel don't merit the restoration of the whole building - only the facade, or part of it.

They argue the minister failed to regard the economic effects rebuilding the Corkman would have on the developers and that "no minister acting reasonably" could compel them to rebuild the pub.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne said he expects the developers to follow through on their promise to rebuild the pub at their own expense.

"We've made it clear that we'll crack down on cowboy developers who have no regard for regulations and that's exactly what we're doing," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

After the pub's demolition, asbestos was carted through Melbourne streets and dumped at another one of the developers' sites, opposite a Cairnlea shopping centre.

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued more than $31,000 in fines to the directors' two companies linked to the Corkman pub demolition.

  • The economic effects it would have on the developers?

    If they didn't want to incur the expense of rebuilding, they should not have teared the whole thing down illegally. If fact, the fact that they will incur an 'economic cost' is part of the whole point. If heritage laws are to be effective, then there has to be an effective deterrent to breaking those laws. In order to make this happen, the consequences for breaking laws must hurt. That is part of the point.

  • Now Lame-Duck Wynne knows how every domestic building consumer feels. Don't bother standing in Richmond again the gravy train is over for you.

  • Minister Wynne and his loyal do nothing deputy Prue Digby, head of the VBA, with all their threats and other couldnt run a chook raffle. It was plain to see this pub would never be rebuilt. They have already phoenixed their Company and will be laughing all the way to the bank. Look at the other examples Minister Wynne has under his control – Lacrosse Building Docklands, the Highbury Road hole and countless others. Minister Wynne your VBA isnt working. Oh, does the developer still have a Builders License, yes he does and I bet you wont be able to do a thing about that either.

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