Melbourne’s Landmark Bourke Hill Protected

Melbourne’s Bourke Hill, which takes in some of the city’s most historic buildings, unique streetscapes and vibrant laneways has been permanently protected by the Victorian Government.

The Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has approved a mixture of height and setback controls as well as revisiting heritage rules to ensure the future protection of the precinct’s low-scale built form, heritage significance, view lines and high level of pedestrian amenity.

Mr Wynne said the amendment would give certainty to the community about the form of future developments in the precinct and protect some of Melbourne’s most iconic structures.

Bourke Hill contains a raft of landmark heritage buildings, including the Windsor Hotel, Princess Theatre and Parliament House. Its unique mixture of Victorian, Edwardian and inter-war architecture have all contributed to its character and appeal.

The approved heights will permanently replaces the interim controls which currently apply to the precinct.

The height controls underpin the minister’s decision to refuse an application to extend a permit for refurbishment of the Hotel Windsor until September 3, 2018.

The current planning permit, granted in 2010, remains in place until January 10, 2017.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne

“Bourke Hill is the city’s crown. It contains a fantastic mix of rich heritage, laneways, restaurants, bars, cafes, art and fashion. It was critical that we protected the unique character of the area from inappropriate development.”

“We are preserving Melbourne’s heritage and protecting some our most recognised places. Planning is ultimately about people and this amendment will ensure Melbourne’s unique character is there for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Key facts

  • Height controls vary across different parts of the precinct.
  • A mandatory 15-metre height control will apply to Bourke Street between Elizabeth and Spring Street as well as most of Little Bourke Street between Exhibition and Spring Street, as well as some of the more significant laneways in the precinct.
  • Mandatory 25 metre height controls will apply to parts of Spring Street including the Princess Theatre and the front of the Hotel Windsor.
  • At the rear of the Hotel Windsor, a preferred height limit of 25 metres will apply with an absolute maximum height of 40 metres.
  • New controls provide for the protection of important private and public open spaces including the Parliament forecourt, Bourke Street, Little Bourke Street, the historic Plane Tree and garden, the Cohen Place Plaza, Punch Lane and Crossley Street.
  • Existing approvals will not be affected by the approval of the amendment.