The Andrews Labor Government has refused to extend a permit to redevelop the historic Windsor Hotel.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne has denied an application for an extension by The Halim Group, who are proposing to demolish part of the rear of the Hotel Windsor and build a new 26 story luxury hotel behind it.
This is the fourth time they have asked for more time.
The developers have had nine years to complete construction since the original permit was granted however almost no progress has been made since their last extension three years ago.
The Halim Group was wanting until August 2023, dragging the process out for 13 years and defying industry and community expectations.
The developers still have until 31 March next year to complete the work.
Since the original application was granted in 2010, there have been four major amendments to the planning scheme that protects the Bourke Hill precinct where the Windsor is located.
These include strict height controls along Spring, Bourke and Lonsdale Streets ensuring our city’s landmarks are protected and streetscapes are not overshadowed.
The Halim Group’s proposed 26 story hotel is almost 92 metres high, and nearly 52 metres taller than the current 25 metre mandatory height control on Spring street and the 40 metre height limit at the rear in Windsor Place.
The planning scheme amendments, which were made in consultation with the community, mean this permit would have to be refused if the application was made today.
The Hotel Windsor, built in 1883, is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria and is protected by a heritage overlay. It is also listed on the Victorian heritage register which means the owners must maintain it and not allow it to fall into disrepair.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne
“The developers have failed to secure finance or show a real willingness to get construction started despite having nine years to do so.”
“If the same application for development was brought to me today, I would have to reject it immediately – planning rules and community expectations have changed.”
“The Windsor Hotel is a Melbourne icon and we’re protecting it – and the unique character of the Bourke Hill precinct.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020