Ellen Sandell – Member for Melb questions Planning Minister in Parliament

On Tuesday in Parliament, Ellen Sandell – Member for Melbourne, said that the Planning Minister – Richard Wynne should protect the Palace/Metro to prevent further destruction to its irreplaceable interior period fixtures.

Mr Wynne – whilst recognising the Palace as an extremely important building in Melbourne – demonstrated just how misinformed the government is in relation to the Palace saga stating that, ‘…due to recent removal of internal fabric there no longer remains reason to protect the building’s interiors.’

“This is not true….. Despite alterations over the years, including the recent removal of some period features by the current owner, the interior still retains its original plan form, including its famous balconies, staircases and its amphitheatre shape, which are a marker of the building’s long history and social heritage and which are still intact”, said Sue Pennicuik, Greens spokesperson for the Arts.

“As I pointed out in parliament in December 2013. The interior of the Palace/Metro is impressive and unique and has always been admired,”

The National Trust states that after 100 years, the Palace Theatre is still a viable entertainment venue. In previous incarnations as Brennan’s Amphitheatre, the Apollo Theatre, the Metro Theatre and Metro Nightclub, the building has hosted many types of cinematic, dramatic and musical theatre, and until recently was a prominent live music venue with a capacity of 1850 persons that hosted many local and international acts. The Palace remains a structurally-sound theatre with an auditorium and balconies, stage area, lobby, stairs and ancillary theatre spaces that warrant protection.

“We are in danger of losing this rare, much loved and historic venue that has chronicled part of Victoria’s cultural history over more than a century because the heritage and planning mechanisms have so far failed to protect it. It is not good enough for the Government to just let this happen. The Minister, the government and everyone involved needs to act now to preserve this precious part of Melbourne’s cultural and live music history,” Ms Pennicuik said.

Richard Wynne’s seat of Richmond, held by a tiny 1.86% margin is under threat from a wave of inner-city Greens voters and he risks electoral backlash from unpopular decisions within his high-profile Planning portfolio yet he has not responded to repeated requests from Save The Palace, National Trust, Melbourne Heritage Action and Music Victoria for a time to discuss this situation.

Palace Theatre to Re-open as shop

Despite the community’s numerous requests for interim protection over the Palace Theatre (Metro Nightclub) Melbourne City Council’s indecisiveness has led to the interiors of the building being stripped not just once, but on two occasions. These latest works are part of a conversion of the front portion of the premises into a retail outlet. Click here to see a report by The Age newspaper.

*VCAT UPDATE* Further info on our return

Following on from our previous VCAT update, we can confirm that Friday May 15 has been set aside for a short Practice Day Hearing at the Tribunal. At that hearing all parties to the Proceeding will have the opportunity to make submissions on how the next steps in this case should proceed. This short hearing is in response to the request from the permit applicant that the matter be re-heard. A further update will be provided following the outcome of this hearing.

VCAT Update #savethepalace #itsnotoveryet

On Monday 13 April 2015, Save the Palace (parties), National Trust – Victoria and Melbourne Heritage Action Group (parties) received correspondence from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal stating that one of the Tribunal members who presided over the hearing of this matter is a member of the National Trust. Until this time the National Trust (Vic) was unaware that the Tribunal member was one of its approximate 23,000 Victorian members.

The Parties have now received notice from the permit applicant that it is seeking to have the Tribunal members considering the Palace Theatre matter reconstituted and the hearing re-heard. The Parties are considering this information and will communicate with the Tribunal in the appropriate forum.

The Parties strongly request that those members of the community holding an interest in the future of the Palace Theatre refrain from all public or social media comment on these recent matters while the Parties consider the position expressed by the permit applicant. Such commentary may not assist the Parties in conducting the matter.

The Parties do not consider it appropriate to make further comment at this time.

‪#‎savethepalace‬ ‪#‎itsnotoveryet‬

Urgent crowd-funding required for VCAT battle. No Boxing Day bargain is more important than this

We hope you all had a very merry day yesterday filled with plenty of laughter and cheer. Now it’s Boxing Day. A day traditionally used for spending leftover Christmas money on so-called bargains that often aren’t really needed. So we have a proposition for you and we need this one SHARED moreso than any other post or request we’ve ever made.

Jinshan have applied to VCAT to demolish the Palace Theatre. The City of Melbourne will resist and we want to carry our campaign into VCAT as well. On 23 December Save The Palace committee, Melbourne Heritage Action and  National Trust all lodged applications to be parties to the VCAT hearing.  We have had generous offers of legal support from lawyers and legal firms, however even with the reduced costs offered there is still a substantial cost to be met for senior barrister representation and expert witnesses. We are aiming to raise $15,000 in order to be represented at the Practice Day Hearing on 16 January, possible mediation in February, and the full hearing which will last for at least a week commencing 30 March 2015.

Today  we are today launching our Save The Palace fund.  We are utilising a previously created National Trust donation page but can assure you that every cent raised will be directed towards paying our legal costs and there will be full transparency of where the money is being spent.  Funds can be donated securely online to the National Trust. ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE and all funds raised will be used to help prepare and deliver our combined case legal case at VCAT.

We beg each and every one of you to SHARE, RETWEET or EMAIL this post and donate as much as possible.

We cannot do this part without you.

‘White knight’ finally named. Yes, they’re real!

Many of you have probably been wondering for some time who on earth this ‘white knight’ is? Do they really exist? What on earth can they do? We can assure you that they are well and truly real.
They are the Mint Group and they have had a huge amount of interest in the Palace Theatre since it was originally for sale. Unfortunately for them and us, they were the second highest bidder at that time. They are still interested, in particular, for the purchase of the freehold and if Jinshan Invesments  could just develop some sort of moral conscience we could see the Theatre restored to its former glory and everyone could walk away feeling much better about themselves as human beings. (yes, even their lawyers!)
If this were to happen, the business would be spearheaded by former Palace business owner/General Manager – Greg Young.
One of Mint Groups flagship businesses is Koko in London. A 100 year old theatre restored and now being used as a venue.  Sound familiar?  You can check out the history of Koko here:

Legal or planning experience with VCAT proceedings urgently required #savethepalace (18/12/14)

We need your help and the only way to ensure this news is spread far and wide is to share this post as well as talk to friends, colleagues, family. Please retweet, email or share our post.

Jinshan’s ongoing push will now be going to VCAT. The matter is due to be heard from 30 March 2015. We would expect the City of Melbourne will be resisting the application by Jinshan Investments to demolish and develop the Palace Theatre site. There will be a “Practice Day hearing” on 16 January when all the parties that wish to be formally involved will resolve preliminary or procedural issues prior to the final hearing. There may be a mediation session in February, but with 900+ objectors and such polarised positions between the applicant and objectors this may not happen. We are working with National Trust and Melbourne Heritage Action to be a party to VCAT with legal representation to make our own submissions objecting to demolition. Cutoff date for submissions will be January 9, so clearly with Christmas and New Year in between, time is of the essence.

Friends, family, colleagues. Anyone with knowledge and a background in Planning and Legal requirements willing to offer their time to participate in this, we implore you , please email us: info@savethepalace.com

Council has requested recommissioning of sprinkler heads for Palace Theatre (16/12/14)

For those who have been concerned with the decommissioning of the sprinklers at the Palace Theatre.
 
Following our queries at the council meeting last Tuesday, we have been in discussions with the Municipal Building Surveyors confirming to them that one of our committee members witnessed the emptying of the sprinklers on Thursday 21 November.

The surveyor has advised ‘they conducted a site inspection resulting in a Building Order Minor Works having been issued (dated Dec 4, 2014) which included to reinstate the sprinkler heads…..fyi, building orders and notices are not public documents and we cannot provide copies of them’

We are in the process of following up how they confirm this work has been carried out.

#savethepalace #itsnotoveryet