There have been claims and counter claims about the decision made on the future of Preston Market at the council meeting on the 18th of May 2020.
In an attempt to get council to clarify their position regarding the demolition, shift and rebuild of the market DADA asked the following questions.
Read the council reply underneath and decide if Preston Market is still at risk of being demolished?
If you are concerned about the future of Preston Market tell your council representatives.
The Preston Market motion passed at the last council meeting (May 18) has created confusion and concern in the Darebin community about the fate of Preston Market.
For the sake of clarification will council please answer yes or no to the following questions:
Q. Does the motion passed keep open the option of demolishing, relocating and rebuilding the market?
Council doesn’t get to make the decision on whether or not the market will move. That’s up to the State Government and the landowner. What Council can decide, is what it tells the VPA is most important to think about when they set the planning rules.
The advice we’ve had from experts is that there are real risks if the market is moved – particularly to the architectural heritage of the building which is very important. The advice also indicates real risks to the ongoing viability of the market and to the existing traders if parts of the market aren’t moved or expanded, which is also very important.
We haven’t given up hope that there’s a solution where all of these risks are balanced. Where both the architecture and the traders are protected. That’s what we asked the VPA to do on 18 May 2020, to protect both – and we called for both a heritage overlay and a contractual agreement with the landowner.
Q. Is relocating the Preston Market to a new position still one of the options being considered by council?
Once the VPA comes to us with a plan, we will be able to say whether we think they go far enough to meet Council’s clear objectives to protect what’s most important. Council’s objectives are very clear that moving the market could only be supported if the heritage experts say that it won’t harm the heritage of the market building.
Councilors in the chamber have claimed that there are many views from the community that do not support the continuation of Preston Market in situ.
Q. Is this secret council business or will you release the data of Darebin community members who support the relocation, hence ultimate destruction/demolition of the market?
All of the community engagement for Preston Market has been done by engagement specialists and their reports made fully public. The most recent round of engagement was carried out in May and June last year, by RPS Consultants. Issues around market character and urban design were looked at in-depth.
The report from this phase of engagement concludes: “Feedback also shows that maintaining the intangible essence of the market was an important consideration for participants. For the vast majority of participants these intangibles create the value of the market – this includes: the range and diversity of offerings, affordability, providing a welcoming and inclusive space that everyone can enjoy, having a range of stallholders, its cultural diversity and its authentic, ‘grunge’ aesthetic. For this majority the location of the market is not a concern.”
We also know that there are people within the community who passionately believe the market should remain exactly where it currently sits in the site.