A central component of the $250 million Queen Victoria Market redevelopment has been rejected in a move that has blindsided the City of Melbourne.
In what council describe as a “baffling decision”, Heritage Victoria have rejected planned works to the historic sheds, built between 1878 and 1922.
The council had planned to dismantle and reconstruct sheds A to D, and while they were under restoration, dig three levels of underground parking and service areas for traders.
Removal of the sheds was vital to the broader redevelopment plan for the seven-hectare site.
Heritage Victoria told the council on Tuesday it would not proceed with this plan.
Related reading: Queen Victoria Market Renewal seeks Heritage Permit for Development
Acting Lord Mayor Arron Wood says council would be appealing this decision.
“Strengthening of the heritage sheds must occur: it is an OHS issue, they are at danger of buckling during strong winds. If you don't renovate and repair heritage structures they will crumble, fall and be lost forever,” Wood said.
“I find it hard to believe that they can restore the Parthenon but we can't restore the heritage sheds at Queen Victoria Market.”Acting Lord Mayor Arron Wood
The council has spent more than $15 million planning its revamp.
Heritage Victoria began assessing the council’s plan in October 2017, and on Tuesday told council it did not accept assurances the sheds could be returned in their original condition.
Heritage Victoria also believes the fabric of the 19th-century market would be irreversibly altered should the plan go ahead.