Ultimatum given to Nylex silo site developers to clean up heritage listed site
The developer behind the proposed revamp of Richmond’s neglected Nylex site has been given 21 days to clean up the former maltings buildings on the banks of the Yarra – or face hefty fines.
Caydon Property Group fought a lengthy planning battle against Yarra Council and ultimately won the right to develop about 1000 apartments on the site in several stages.
But the project has not yet begun. Part of the site burnt down last year, and a second fire caused significant damage. The site is also regularly broken into by people wanting to climb to the building’s rooftop.
The Nylex clock and the wider Richmond Maltings site, which were built in the 1850s to brew beer and store grain, are protected on the Victorian Heritage Register.
In recent decades the site was made famous by Paul Kelly’s song Leaps and Bounds, the video of which was shot on the roof of the silos in the shadow of the heritage-listed but now defunct clock.
Heritage Victoria has now served Caydon with a notice to address the ongoing deterioration at the site.
Its “show-cause” notice demands the company repair boundary fencing, stairs, ladders and gantry walkways to block trespassers, secure doors and windows to protect the building from the weather, and carry out any other works needed to prevent vandalism and fire.
If Caydon doesn’t carry out the works demanded, the company can be fined up to $773,000 or more, Heritage Victoria executive director Steven Avery indicated.
Mr Avery said it was disappointing the site had been repeatedly vandalised and damaged by fires, and the site needed to be secured immediately.
“Failure to secure this site will lead to significant fines, imprisonment or both,” Mr Avery said.
On repeated inspections, Heritage Victoria, Yarra Council, police and the fire brigade have found the site to be poorly secured, despite repeated warnings to Caydon to block access to trespassers.
The Heritage Act requires an owner to not allow a place to fall into disrepair.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne said it was outrageous the site had been allowed to deteriorate, and that the government would move to protect the building, which was an important part of Melbourne’s public history.
Caydon spokesman Brian O’Neil said the works suggested by Heritage Victoria “cannot be undertaken without exposing workers to risk from asbestos and buildings damaged by fire”.
Mr O’Neil said the company had engaged heritage architects, Lovell Chen, to discuss the Heritage Victoria notice with state authorities.
The company’s officers had recently met authorities including police, the fire brigade, Yarra Council and Heritage Victoria on site to resolve ongoing safety concerns and the protection of heritage buildings, he said.
Mr O’Neil said the company’s view was that “development is the only way to fully mitigate unlawful entrance to the site”.
And he said there were a range of measures in place to prevent unlawful access, including fencing, hazardous material warning signs, locks on all external gates and doors and random security patrols.
Source: The Age