This week a Planning Panel has been meeting in Port Melbourne to hear submissions on the planning future of 1 to 7 Waterfront Place.
The relationship between the proposed development of that site and the Port Melbourne Railway Station is one of the matters being considered. The building is on the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) which is for places of significance to Victoria. The City of Port Phillip heritage register is for places with local heritage significance. This reminds us that the Port Melbourne Railway Station is an important place for Victoria and the citation explains why:
'The former Port Melbourne Railway Station building is historically significant by association with the first public steam railway in Australia, and with the development and use of the Port Melbourne piers. The building played an important role in the history of the piers, in particular Station Pier, and in the social history of Melbourne with its association with the popular bay excursion trade.
The former Port Melbourne Railway Station building, which was rebuilt at a time when the function of the piers was expanding, is significant in demonstrating a critical change in the maritime activity of the Bayside area. Its significance is further enhanced by the fact that, unlike the piers, it has not been dramatically altered throughout the twentieth century. The former Port Melbourne Railway Station building is of architectural and historical significance as a distinctive building type, the only surviving representation within the metropolitan context of a small group of station buildings developed by the Victorian Railways Department following the 1890s depression. The significance is enhanced by the integrity of its building fabric.' (Statement of Cultural Heritage Significance VHR HO983)
The City of Port Phillip's expert heritage witness Anita Brady of Lovell Chen argued that
'For both proposals, there will be impacts on the VHR listed station building arising out of the close proximity of substantial new development. While the impacts vary, both proposals still represent an unacceptable outcome for the heritage listed railway station building. Both proposals also have new building components extending in the VHR extent of registration of the railway station, which are not consistent with the heritage values and character of the railway station, or of maintaining an appropriate setting to the station. Constructing these elements in the VHR registered land would require a permit from Heritage Victoria and not from the responsible authority (the Council)