A historic Melbourne pub that was illegally torn down by cowboy asshole developers is now unlikely to be rebuilt in its original form, after the Victorian State Government admitted a planning enforcement order was not “legally sound.”
The Corkman Irish Pub in Carlton, in the city’s inner northern fringe, was abruptly and illegally demolished in October of 2016, around a week after the building was damaged by a deliberately lit fire.
Property developers Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski, along with their ownership company 160 Leicester Pty Ltd, were given an absolute pizzling by the courts in the fallout from the illegal demolition, which also included the deeply illegal and very reckless dumping of asbestos rubble from the site at a lot in Cairnlea; the duo and their company were ultimately slapped with a record fine in excess of $1.3 million for the illegal demolition and the dumping.
The level of offending was so great, in fact, that the State Government amended the laws to impose five-year jail terms on developers who illegally demolish heritage-listed buildings. However those laws were not applied to the Corkman case retrospectively.
But a previous order to rebuild the pub in its original form is now very unlikely to go ahead, with a last-minute deal between developers and the planning board, days before the issue was set to go before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Under the terms of the deal, the site will be turned into a temporary park by November. Shaqiri and Kutlesovski then have a three-year period to submit planning applications to Government officials, which will be approved with the discretion of the state planning minister and the local council.
If they fail to submit an application within that timeframe, they will be forced to rebuild only the external walls of the original two-storey pub.
Various media reports suggest that planning rules will allow a twelve-storey building to be put up on the site, despite the historic pub’s illegal demolition and the subsequent legal fallout.
State Government officials have stated that the planning system cannot be used as a punitive tool, and that the record fine represents a fair and just punishment. However opposition representatives assert that fine is merely a “rounding error” in the grand scheme of the millions in profit the duo still stand to make on any future tower development at the site.
Either way, the historic Corkman Pub is highly unlikely to ever return in any form even closely resembling its original state. And that, frankly, is a fucking outrage.
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Image: Instagram / Melbourne Heritage Registrar