Never underestimate a public’s ability to get incredibly shitty when money-chasing property developers start circling a beloved pub.

Back in October, the Corkman Irish Pub, a hugely beloved local watering hole in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Carltonwas illegally torn down by rogue developers who were hell bent on erecting a 12-storey apartment tower on the site, despite the teeny little fact that they did not have permission to tear down the 159-year-old building.

A building which also had a heritage listing overlay protecting it.

The demolition crews moved in quickly late one Saturday last October and flattened the building, which had been partially destroyed by fire. Despite stop-work orders being issued by council officials, work crews tore the rest of the building down the following day.

To make matters even worse, rubble from the building – which absolutely contained quite decent amounts of asbestos – was then summarily dumped on a site also owned by the idiot developers in Cairnlea.

The response from planning officials, the city council, and state government was swift: Massive fines, and an order to rebuild the pub as close to original heritage overlay on the site.

You’d think that’d be the end of it, right? You fucked up. You got smacked down by the authorities. Congratulations, you now own a pub.

Unfortunately this the property development game, and when big heaps of money are potentially involved, the rules tend to bend at will.

Stefce Kutlesovski and Raman Shaqiri, who bought the building in 2015 for $4.76million and co-own the demolition company that callously ripped it down, have filed a statement of grounds with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal fighting the reconstruction order made by the Andrews State Government; an order that the pair initially agreed to comply with in writing.

When the decision to force a rebuild was handed down, Kutlesovski and Shaqiri stated that they would “rebuild the building at our expense. We will willingly enter into the appropriate enforceable undertaking.

But now that “appropriate enforceable undertaking” is suddenly “vague, imprecise and incapable of being complied with,” and the order to rebuild is “oppressive,” according to documents filed with VCAT by lawyers representing the pair.

The documents challenge the reconstruction order issued by Planning Minister Richard Wynne, and the ruling by Wynne that prevents anything but a two-storey Victorian-style building being constructed on the site for the next two years.

Further still, the documents question the heritage value of the – and again I stress here, ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY NINE YEAR OLD building – claiming that any heritage value attributed to the old building did not merit its reconstruction.

A spokesman for Wynne asserted that the Government fully expects the reconstruction order to be carried out, despite this legal filing.

“The minister expects the developers to follow through on their undertaking.”

Representatives for the developers have declined comment. The case is expected to be heard next month.

In the meantime, here’s a bloody red-hot idea: If you’re keen to build giant dumb-ass apartment complexes, MAYBE FIND SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN A BUSY, POPULAR, GOOD LOCAL PUB TO BUILD THEM ON YOU RANK DICKHEADS.

Pubs are good. Leave pubs alone.

Source: The Age.

Photo: Melbourne Heritage Action/Instagram.