As Sydneysiders roll up their sleeves in the fight to save Tao Gofer’s Sirius apartment block from the wrecking ball, a similar battle for a historic pub goes on in Port Melbourne.

Like was the case with Sirius in NSW, the Victorian Government has denied the 1877-built The London hotel on Beach Street a heritage listing, and some members of the Port Phillip community aren’t happy about it.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne recently rejected Port Phillip Council’s application to slap an interim heritage overlay on the hotel to protect the building from demolition while a permanent heritage control could be reconsidered.

The London Family Hotel in 1967. Photo: Lyle Fowler

The cause of Port Phillip’s urgency is the fact that the owner of the site has a permit to demolish the building and that his developer has already shown us its proposals for the site.

TAB Developments plans to bulldoze The London and put up an eight-storey luxury apartment block, designed by Decibel Architecture and B.E Architecture. And while the building design was rejected by the VCAT recently, site-owner Gary Busuttil does have permission to demolish the building which he can exercise until 25 June 2017.


Wynne refused Port Phillip’s interim heritage overlay application because of a “lack of sufficient comparative analysis” to demonstrate the social significance of the building.

Port Phillip Mayor Bernadene Voss expressed her disappointment with the decision and said the Council was “considering all our options” to save the hotel from the wrecking ball.

“In light of the evidence in the recent heritage assessment and the depth of community feeling on this issue, we are now considering all our options, including seeking legal advice,” she told local newspaper, The Leader.

Legal advice is also being sought up in Sydney by the Save Our Sirius foundation, which recently reached its online crowdfunding campaign target of $35,000. Money from the campaign will be used for legal fees in a court action against the NSW Government’s decision to reject the heritage overlay.