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.