Melburnians were outraged when the Corkman Irish Pub was illegally demolished back in 2016. The 1858 Carlton building, covered by a heritage overlay, was a popular spot with university students and local residents.

Now, despite fines and an order to rebuild, those responsible may be allowed to build a high-rise tower anyway.

Stefce Kutlesovski and Raman Shaqiri, owners of development company 160 Leicester Pty Ltd, demolished the building without a planning permit and ignored a council stop-work order.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne and Melbourne City Council ordered the pair to rebuild the pub within 12 months to the same “design, scale and layout” as the original, and ordered them to remove the asbestos-covered debris from the demolition site. The pair and their company were fined a total of $1.3 million.

Now, as reported by the ABC, Kutlesovski and Shaqiri may be able to go ahead with their initial plans for a high-rise development, as the rebuild order has been deemed “not legally sound” by the Victorian Government.

A deal has been struck allowing them to turn the site into a temporary community park by the end of November this year.

Kutlesovski and Shaqiri now have until mid-2022 to submit a planning application for their intended development, which will go before the state planning minister and council for approval.

They will be forced to rebuild external parts of the two-level pub if they fail to submit an application by the three-year deadline. As reported by the ABC, planning rules would allow for any new building to be 12 storeys high if set back from the street.