Heritage & Planning Issues

Heritage & Planning Issues

Built heritage is only one aspect of our local Collingwood heritage which needs protection, along with the natural and cultural heritage, parks, images, music, oral histories and more. However, built heritage is a particularly contested area with conflicting pressure from different levels of government, state and local, and from property developers.

The Collingwood Historical Society has had an active involvement in the heritage planning for the City of Yarra and previously for the City of Collingwood (Abbotsford, Clifton Hill and Collingwood) over the past 30 years or more. We were members of the committee for the City of Collingwood Urban Conservation Study carried out by Andrew Ward in the 1980s. We have been members of a number of the City of Yarra’s heritage review committees. We are deeply concerned that the historical and heritage value of the area be respected for the benefit of future generations, both the natural heritage of the Yarra River and the built heritage.

Planning and heritage regulations and guidelines are complex and include both Victorian State government and local Yarra Council aspects. Because of lack of clarity in these there are often long and costly disputes, and many development proposals end up at VCAT, the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal.

Recent issues

Examples of recent sites with which Collingwood Historical Society has been involved:

  • 675 Victoria St Abbotsford. Proposed 15 storey development on the bank of the Yarra, immediately adjoining the former Alma Woold Scouring Works (August 2023). The proposal was withdrawn in March 2024.
  • 35-41 Spensley Street Clifton Hill, the 1890 Royal Hotel. 2021 proposal to demolish all but the two street facades and to build 6 storey apartments. Rejected at VCAT 2023.
  • 61-65 Victoria Parade, Collingwood. Baden Powell Hotel. (2020) Proposed 8 to 10 storey development. Rejected by VCAT 2022.

(updated May 2024)

More information about proposed developments may be found on the Yarra Council website. https://www.yarracity.vic.gov.au/services/planning-and-development

Local Heritage and Planning

Victorian Heritage Register. Some of our local individual buildings have been recognised as of heritage significance at the State level and are on the Victorian Heritage Register. These include, for example, the Shot Tower in Alexandra Parade, the Yorkshire Brew Tower in Collingwood and the Collingwood Town Hall in Abbotsford. In contrast to these grander structures, the tiny Dolls House, Islington St is also on the Victorian Heritage Register.  https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au


City of Yarra Heritage Overlays

Within the City of Yarra there are also many individual buildings and local areas (precincts) which have been recognised as having heritage local heritage significance and as needing protection.
For more on Heritage and precincts see also https://www.yarracity.vic.gov.au/the-area/heritage

The City of Yarra Planning Scheme is a statutory document that sets out objectives and policies relating to the use, development, protection and conservation of land in an area.

A change to a planning scheme map, the written part of the scheme, or both, is called an amendment. These take some time to go through Council processes, and should include community consultation. Amendments then need to be approved by the Minister for Planning, also a slow process.

Recent Planning amendments with Collingwood Historical Society input:

  • The Yarra Planning Scheme Rewrite (Amendment c269 submitted for Ministerial approval April 2022) includes new heritage guidelines and landmarks. This was approved in Dec 2023.

Other important amendments are still waiting Minister’s approval.

  • Victoria St Abbotsford DDOs 46-50 (Amendment c291 submitted August 2022)
  • Collingwood South DDO 23 (Amendment c293 submitted June 2022).
  • Amendment C271. The areas involved are DDO 30 and 37 Smith St, DDO 38 Alexandra Parade and DDO 39 Victoria Parade. (Submitted for approval Dec 2022) Temporary protection in place to 21 April 2024.

See Yarra Council website


List of heritage and planning sites

Below is a list of some of the planning and heritage sites in which we have been active over the years. The list is in alphabetic order of street address for each of Abbotsford, Clifton Hill and Collingwood.

Most proposals involve unsympathetic development of heritage sites which fail to meet the objectives of Yarra Council’s heritage guidelines. They also include high rise developments along the sensitive Yarra River corridor. 



  •  Johnston St Local Area Plan (Amendment C220) a framework for the area, including development in riverside Trenerry Crescent, was approved in 2019.
  • 247-259 Johnston St (St Crispin House). Proposed 15, then 13 storey development. Council approved 11 storeys plus three basement levels. To VCAT 2017, 12 storeys approved. Under construction 2019-20. All but the facade has been demolished. Building completed.
  • 10-16 Trenerry Crescent (former Yarra Falls Mills). VCAT 1999, 2010, 2012. Multi storey residential development on the banks of the Yarra. Building completed.
  • 80-110 Trenerry Crescent (former Yarra Falls Mills). VCAT 1999. Yarra granted a permit for 7-9 storey buildings on riverbank 2009. Buildings completed.

Two amendments below allow for future large developments on the Yarra River bank:

  • 112-142 Trenerry Crescent (Amendment C219) former Austral Silk and Cotton Mill
  • 18-62 Trenerry Crescent (Amendment C218) former William Saunders Malt Extract factory

There is further information about developments along Trenerry Crescent described as part of the 2019 Abbotsford History Walk at History Walk Trenerry Crescent

  • 297 Victoria St Abbotsford Reinstatement of figures of Hygeia (completed 2021). See YouTube Hygeia video
  • 647-649 Victoria St. Proposed 10 storey development on Yarra bank next to Walmer St footbridge. Accepted by VCAT.
  • 675 Victoria St Proposed 15 storey development on the bank of the Yarra, immediately adjoining the former Alma Woold Scouring Works (August 2023). The proposal was withdrawn in March 2024.
  • 677 Victoria St (former Honeywell site). Large-scale development in sensitive riverside area. Completed.

 Clifton Hill

  • 64 Alexandra Pde (former Provan’s site). State government rezoning (2018).
  • Queens Parade Activity Centre plan (Amendment C231) initially supported development up to 14 storeys in some parts and 6 storeys behind the shops, threatening the heritage streetscape and skyline. After much community input a revised improved Amendment went before a Planning Panel in August 2019. This had a maximum of 3 to 4 storeys behind the shops. It was passed by Council and received Ministerial approval in October 2020.
  • 97-99 Queens Pde (Taco Bill’s) – design of infill. Building completed 2023.
  • 101-103 Queens Pde (Bendigo Bank) – 6 storey proposal – not built
  • 139 Queens Pde (former Normandy Hotel) Development completed 2020.
  • 141-147 Queens Pde (Clifton’s warehouse) external signs and painting. Reopened as Metro supermarket.
  • 205-211 Queens Pde (former Clifton Motor Garage/Tru mould tyres) 9-11 storey proposal on Moderne factory site. Now on Victorian Heritage Register. Refused by Council, withdrawn from VCAT 2020.
  • 217-241 Queens Parade. Clifton Views 12 storey development within heritage overlay. Development completed 2019.
  • 267-271 Queens Pde – 22 storey building proposed. Refused by Council Proposal withdrawn 2021.
  • 47-49 Ramsden St (former Marshall’s butchers). 2020 proposal for 7 apartments up to 4 storeys. Council approved plan for 3 storeys 2022. VCAT agreed to 3 storeys (2023).
  • 1 South Terrace (Sambell Lodge redevelopment) Development included demolishing the St Andrew’s church. Demolition accepted by VCAT. Building completed 2020.
  • 35-41 Spensley Street Clifton Hill, the 1890 Royal Hotel. 2021 proposal to demolish all but the two street facades and to build 6 storey apartments. Rejected at VCAT 2023.


  • 107 Cambridge St, (former Foy & Gibson complex). Large-scale visible development completed.
  • 62 Easey St/259 Wellington St (former Portsea House site). Renovated.
  • 200-202 Johnston St, Austral cinema: Amendment C245 includes proposed internal heritage controls for three former cinemas in Yarra, among them the former Austral Picture Theatre at 200-202 Johnston St. In spite of heritage advice for internal protection, a Panel hearing (April 2020) and then Council rejected internal controls for the three Yarra cinemas. However 3D images of the Austral interior were recorded:  https://captur3d.io/view/city-of-yarra/austral-theatre  
    In 2021 a proposal for an 11 storey building and demolition of most of the Austral cinema building went to VCAT which approved a 9 storeys development.
  •  23-33 Johnston St. (former Gregory Steel works) Proposed 12 storey development proposal behind significant façade of the former Gregory Steel works, within the Johnston St heritage precinct. VCAT approved 8 storey building. Demolition underway March 2021. Completed 2023.
  • 34-38 Otter St, St Joseph’s Church. Proposal to demolish rather than repair the fire-damaged church. Collingwood’s oldest church. Demolition refused by VCAT. Church repaired and re-opened in April 2018.
  • 42-44 Oxford St, 61-63 Cambridge St. 14 storey development proposal and demolition of much of the fabric of the former Dyason’s cordial factory. Development completed 2023.
  • 1-21 Robert St (former Yorkshire Brewery). In 2013 VCAT approved development with 17, 14 and 10 storey towers around the landmark brew tower. Development completed.
  • 14-18 Smith St former British Crown Hotel. Multistorey (7 storey) proposal accepted by VCAT 2021
  • 40-44 Smith Street. Multi (10) storey proposal for excessive height and facadism (2023) Accepted by VCAT with minor changes.
  • 61-65 Victoria Parade, Baden Powell Hotel. (2020) Proposed 8 to 10 storey development. Rejected by VCAT 2022.

Updated May 2024


































































































































































































































































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