Help save essendon's heritage treasure
ESSENDON'S HERITAGE TREASURE AT RISK
Essendon's historic North Park Manor House was designed in 1888 by Henry Kemp of renowned Melbourne architects Addison, Oakden & Kemp for wealthy Carlton & United Breweries founder, community leader, Essendon and VFL President, Alexander McCracken.
Set within original grounds on the highest point in Essendon, this grand 42-roomed residence is an unusually grand domestic example of a two storey Queen Anne Manor, and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register as being of significance to the State of Victoria. The building is also significant for the first use of imported Marseilles terracotta roofing tiles in Australia.
For over 130 years, this grand building has watched the City of Essendon and surrounding areas grow, visible even today from across the municipality as a much-loved reminder of the area's unique heritage, contributing its grandeur to neighbourhoods far beyond its immediate surrounds.
HISTORIC GARDENS THREATENED
The property’s heritage listing states that as well as the Manor, the Estate grounds “are of aesthetic importance as an outstanding example of the gardenesque style”, with many of the plantings contemporaneous with the construction of the Manor.
The property's current owners, the St Columbans Mission Society (SCMS) are now proposing a subdivision and redevelopment of over 45% of the Estate, which would have the effect of destroying the heritage significance of this valued community asset.
Raise Your Objection
We Walk You through the process
Objections Due 3/9/20
read about our fight
In 'The Age' online
What is at risk?
SCMS propose to subdivide the property into four main lots for sale, one of which will be the retained Manor house within approximately 50% smaller grounds.
Two parcels of land will also be subdivided via strata title, allowing construction of 27 mostly 3 storey townhouses, most with basements as well.
This will result in the destruction of the property’s heritage grounds, with the removal of over 120 trees from the gardens, four of which have been identified as being of “high arboricultural value” and the building of access roads, surrounding the remaining gardens with tarmac.
SCMS also propose to retain one of the four lots adjacent to the heritage property for construction of a "Residential and Accomodation Village", replacing a low rise 1960s building with a bulkier three storey office and residential wing.
This will result in the further degradation of the significance of the heritage place, as indicated in the supplied indicative render.
What is Proposed?
27 x 2-3 Level Townhouses
The property’s heritage grounds are proposed to be subdivided to allow construction of 27 townhouse units, all at three storeys, except the four along Woodlands St at two storeys.
While SCMS alleges the townhouses will be sited to retain sightlines to the Manor House, plans clearly show that the historic “garden” so important to the site context will be mostly reduced to a line of single trees wedged betwen hard surfaces.
45% Loss of Open Space
Under the proposed changes, 45% of open space, and 120 mature trees will be lost, reducing the property’s “garden” to mostly a mere sliver of single trees wedged between drive and pathways, certain to provide inadequate screening for the bulk of 27 two to three storey townhouses.
New Entry Points to Woodland St
The proposal would also see three new entryways added to the property’s historic external fence. A new section of “modern interpretation” fencing will also be built along Woodland St giving more access from the property onto the already busy Woodland St, directly opposite St Vincent De Paul Primary School.
Help save north park
Join our community of concerned individuals and community groups to help keep the PARK in NORTH PARK
How You Can Help
SIX EASY WAYS YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TODAY...
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What Locals say
There are only two words to describe how I feel about the horrendous development proposed that will TRASH the gardens of the St Columbans Mission in Woodland St Essendon and destroy the amenity of the area.
We have lost so many trees in Moonee Valley to developers and their relentless greed. In the environment of overwhelming sadness over the massive destruction of habitat by the bush fires in recent months, this is the last straw!!
Anna L. - Resident of Strathmore
1 Moonee Valley City Council
A formal planning permit will also be required through Moonee Valley Council for all works associated with the proposed redevelopment.
Objections to the proposed development are now OPEN until September 3, 2020, and we encourage all concerned Melburnians and Moonee Valley residents in particular to have their voice heard.
We are urging Moonee Valley Councillors to reject the prospect of inappropriate development on a site that is of such enormous value to the entire Moonee Valley community.
Furthermore, we believe that Council has a role to play in the preservation of this historic community asset, and will be asking Council to actively involve itself in the process
2 Heritage Victoria
Approval is required from Heritage Victoria to make significant alterations to a place on the Victorian Heritage Register.
SCMS have applied for a formal permit from Heritage Victoria, supported in their application by the developer’s standard “heritage” consultant of choice – Lovell Chen.
Applications have closed for submissions to the Heritage Victoria hearing, and hearings have been delayed due to COVID-19, but a decision is expected in the coming weeks.
Heritage Victoria is able to attach specific compliance conditions to any permit issued, however our hope is that Heritage Victoria will reject the proposal outright.
What We are asking
OUR COMMUNITY IS BRIMMING WITH POSITIVE IDEAS FOR NORTH PARK'S FUTURE
1. Reject Inappropraite Development
We want to see to see the whole of North Park Estate remain in its current state,becoming a public treasure for all to enjoy.
The possibilities are plentiful… an Art Hub, Community Gardens, Library, Wedding Venue, playground/park etc (think Ripponlea or Abbotsford Convent).
We call on Council, and on Heritage Victoria to reject the current development proposal, and for all levels of government to cone together to find a future for the park in North Park.
2. secure alternative owners
SCMS claim the redevelopment is required to ensure their ongoing viability as a care provider, and that should the redevelopment be rejected, they will be forced to sell and vacate the property entirely.
Whilst we agree this would be regrettable in light of SCMS’ long term association with the property, if that is their position, we must take them at face value and seek to find alternative owners for the land who WOULD be willing to reinvest in and retain the mansion and the historic gardens.
We believe that both State and Local Government have an obvious role to play here, however we would welcome any private investor who equally intended to retain and preserve the property’s heritage values.