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Massive Melbourne heritage listing boost

Melbourne’s heritage register has received its biggest boost since the 1990s, as protection is bolstered for 121 buildings and five inner-city precincts.

The amendment to the Melbourne planning scheme, ticked off on Friday, marks a “huge step forward” for the city’s architecture and most-loved spaces, according to City of Melbourne acting lord mayor Nicholas Reece.

It enhances protection for laneways including Flinders Lane East, Drewery Lane, Guildford Lane, and Hardware Lane, and covers more postwar buildings, such as the Collins Street’s former Gilbert Court building.

The building is Melbourne’s first in the glass box-style.

“We know Melbourne’s rich architectural heritage is renowned the world over, that’s why we want to ensure this important cultural capital is retained and respected,” Mr Reece said.

“This review is about protecting what makes Melbourne special, and opening the figurative doors of some of these buildings for the wider community to appreciate these icons.”

Relatively new buildings have gained heritage protection under the review. Among them, the 1988-constructed former Gordon buildings on Flinders Lane, which housed the art studios of impressionist painters Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, and Charles Douglas Richardson.

Southbank’s Vault sculpture, constructed in 1980, also made the cut. It was intended to demonstrate the city’s progressiveness, but became a symbol of conservative backlash because of public and media criticism.

The Swiss Club of Victoria on Flinders Lane, built in 1906, was granted protection, as was Melbourne House on Little Bourke Street, which was saved from demolition because it was included in the review.

The amendment to the planning scheme is more than 4500 pages long, with a statement of significance prepared for each of the heritage buildings in Melbourne’s CBD.

Several squares in Carlton in Melbourne’s north have also been added to the heritage register.

Victoria’s Hoddle Grid Heritage Review started in 2016 and is the biggest heritage review undertaken in the state since the 1990s.

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