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.

  • Justin, thank you for the update. Yes, the 'economic' cost is all that counts – the 'economy', big business and profits and profits and moe profits. Of course, we know that buildings are of no intrinsic or other value. Nor are people of any worth. And how about the 'asbestos' story? These delinquents dumping the asbestos near the shopping centre – in the 'most people possible' place! This story illustrates the complete disregard for human life – and the lack of any significant penalty fostering the recalcitrant rogues. According to Worksafe Vic, asbestos was banned in 2003 and if there is any problem it is with the importation – and a problem in other states! Maybe the bureaucrats don't know about this – but of course they do. But as the saying goes, they will defend to the death. As for the EPA issuing a fine, if this wasn't so serious an issue, we could say it was laughable. However, I am sure that those many thousands of ex-construction workers and other innocent victims who are dying of asbestos related diseases would find this conduct disgustingly offensive!

    As for Mr Wynne, his response to the dmolition was only ever a publicity stunt. Developers and big builders run the state and the country and cause mostly destruction through their con-struction. Wynne has a proven record as a Minister of ministering to the every whim and need of those who run the state and he, like all his buddies, has no concern whatsoever for people, their livelihood, their lives – or their deaths!

    One has to ask: "How did it get so bad that people have less rights than animals?"

    Consumers have NO right to get the building they pay for with their life savings, workers have NO right to go to work and be safe or to be paid 'compensation' when injured or rendered terminally ill, and sub-contractors have NO right to be paid for the work they do.

    It's great living in the land 'downunder in 2017 – except if you ARE an ordinary Australian consumer (all of us), or a sub-contractor, or a worker – which is 23 Million plus of us! So lucky you if you are among the 1% of mover and shaker elite or their pollie/bureau collaborators – for this select business and political class, life is good in the 'lucky' country. But only for they who have decided to ignore any and every moral code.

  • 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.