On Wednesday, Heritage Victoria will announce that it’s accepting a nomination to have Federation Square added to the Victorian Heritage Register. While the nomination itself doesn’t mean the site will be added to the Heritage Register it does mean there will be significant new hurdles to clear for the new Metro Tunnel Town Hall station entrance and the proposed – and controversial – Apple Global Flagship Store.
On July 20 this year, Heritage Victoria received the nomination from the National Trust of Australia. Proposed works to a site have no bearing on the nomination process, though they are often a catalyst for a nomination being made.
“With significant changes proposed at Federation Square, we have fast-tracked our nomination to ensure there is a coordinated approach [that] takes into account the architectural and cultural significance of this important place,” Victorian National Trust CEO Simon Ambrose said in a statement. “Additionally, the lack of transparency has been concerning, with no attempt to consult Victorians – the very people who Federation Square was built for.”
While Heritage Victoria assesses the nomination an interim protection order has been placed on the area of Fed Square that will be affected by construction of the Town Hall metro station, designs for which were unveiled in May. An entrance to the station, which is part of the Metro Tunnel project, is planned for the north-west corner of Federation Square.
Any new works at the location covered by the order will now need to be approved by Heritage Victoria, and if the nomination is successful, all future development will require heritage assessment.
This would not only include Town Hall Station works but construction of the Apple Global Flagship Store too. Following backlash after the original proposal, new designs for the store were released last month.
When deciding what should be given heritage status Heritage Victoria assesses a site’s historical, architectural, aesthetic and social significance at the state level. The age of a site has no bearing on whether it can be included.
“We encourage all Victorians to have their say on the future of Federation Square and their city’s skyline by making a submission in writing to the Premier of Victoria, the Hon. Daniel Andrews MP.” Ambrose said.