Melbourne developers charged over demolition of Corkman Irish Pub

Melbourne City Council says the old pub was demolished without a planning permit.

Melbourne City Council says the old pub was demolished without a planning permit. Photo: ABC

More than a dozen charges have been laid against those involved in the alleged illegal demolition of a 159-year-old Irish pub in inner Melbourne.

The Corkman Irish Pub in Carlton was knocked down last October because the owners wanted to develop the property.

The Victorian Building Authority and the Melbourne City Council have laid 16 charges against Stefce Kutlesovski, Raman Shaqiri and their company 160 Leicester Pty Ltd, which owns the property.

The council said they were accused of demolishing the building without a permit, ignoring a stop-work order, and carrying out demolition work while unregistered and in breach of planning laws.

The maximum penalties range from $3,000 to $388,000.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne said the developers could face fines of more than $1 million in total.

“The allegations that we make are that they have breached the Planning Act, the Building Act and a number of acts within the City of Melbourne’s jurisdiction,” he said.

“We want to ensure that the message is very clear, that if you are going to, illegally in our view, demolish this building there will be repercussions for that.

“These charges attract very extensive fines. If all 16 charges are proven in the Magistrates Court there are potential fines that run well in excess of $1 million.”

He said WorkCover and the Environment Protection Authority were still investigating the demolition.

‘We want to see the Corkman reinstated’

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said he wanted to see the historic pub facade rebuilt.

“It’s not that we want to go into court and punish people as a consequence for what they have done,” he said.

“What we’d really like to see is the Corkman reinstated, and that is possible.

“Because it was a building with a plaster facade, my belief is that you could use the remaining materials, plus some new materials and have a facade which did remind us of the Corkman.”

Corkman Pub

In 1957 the pub was known as the Carlton Inn Hotel. Photo: State Library of Victoria

After the building was knocked down, the demolishers were ordered to contain asbestos found in the rubble.

It was later found dumped at a site in Melbourne’s north-west. They were fined $7,500 by the EPA.

The owners later told the Victorian Government they would rebuild the pub.

The situation involving the Corkman led the Government to change laws around the illegal demolition of property in Victoria.

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