|Address||Corner of Leicester and Pelham Streets, Carlton, Victoria, Australia|
The Carlton Inn is a former pub in Carlton, Melbourne, in the Australian state of Victoria, built c. 1856. It was demolished without planning or heritage approval on the weekend of 15 and 16 October 2016.
Before demolition it was one of the oldest buildings in the Carlton area. In its last years it was known as the 'Corkman Irish Pub'.
A quarter-acre crown allotment at the corner of Leicester and Pelham Streets was sold to R. Hepburn in 1853, who subsequently subdivided the land into numerous small allotments with the corner lot measuring 70 by 70 feet. Construction of the hotel was underway by early February 1856, as evidenced by an advertisement for bricks. The completed Carlton Inn was licensed in 1856 to George Edmonds. Soon after it was transferred to John Cozens. The Noble family were proprietors for about a century from 1863, when a Mrs Noble was listed as owner in the rate books, through to William K. Noble of Mirboo who was owner in 1923 to 1936, and then the estate of W. K. Noble in 1954.
In 1933, architects Thomas Watts & Sons designed a new rear addition valued at £500 including new kitchen, and alterations to the front bar. The works were carried out by builder G. G. Edwards of North Brighton. In 1936 a new two-storey section was built on the eastern boundary costing £700. Additional bedrooms and relocation of the kitchen (which had previously been a billiard room), were undertaken by Harry J. Johnston with designs by architect J. A. Trencher of Caulfield. In 1954 architect Harry J. Little designed further alterations, including single-storey sections for laundry, toilets, garage and fuel store, replacing former outbuildings. Building was undertaken by R. J. Johnstone of Mitcham.
historically significant as one of the earliest extant buildings in this part of Carlton, which has undergone substantial change since the time of its initial phase of construction in 1857. The Carlton Inn is of aesthetic significance as a good example of the Victorian period. The façade is relatively plain and generally indicative of the early to mid-Victorian period, though the parapet may date to the later Victorian period. The façade has a stucco finish but the original corner section may be partly stone.
A nearby building proposal was objected by the Carlton Association due to the impact it would have had to the adjacent heritage places, including the Carlton Inn.
The Carlton Inn was a two-storey brick-and-bluestone hotel with rendered façades in a simple Georgian style. It had a brown tiled dado on the Pelham and Leicester Street façades, and a balustered parapet with urns.
In August 2016, the hotel was purchased for $4.76 million ($1.76 million above reserve) by a company known as '160 Leicester Pty Ltd', owned by Stefce Kutlesovski and Raman Shaqiri of Markland Investments. A suspicious fire broke out in the hotel on 8 October, and on Saturday morning 15 October, demolition was commenced by Shaq Demolitions and Excavations. A stop order was issued by a City of Melbourne officer on Saturday, but the demolition contractors returned on Sunday and completed the demolition.
Court action against Kutlesovski and Shaqiri
Following the demolition, the two were fined over $600,000 for breaches of the Environment Protection Act for illegal dumping of asbestos contaminated material following a successful prosecution by the EPA. Other charges by other regulators such as the Victorian Building Authority and Melbourne City Council are being pursued separately so further significantly fines may follow. The magistrate said in court he would have jailed them, but the law only allowed for fines. Raman Shaqiri was admonished in the court for smirking and trying to out-stare the magistrate. Stefce Kutlesovski and Raman Shaqiri removed asbestos from the site and dumped it on another location, near a school and residential buildings, endangering the people in the vicinity. The pair appeared again in court in 2019, and this time were fined a further $1.32 million for the demolition following a successful prosecution by the Victoria Building Authority. The fine was large so as to dissuade other developers from similar practices. The barrister representing the Government noted a lack of contrition by the pair, who had initially agreed to rebuild the pub, but then not only refused to, but made a legal challenge to the rebuild order, indicating they had no interest in doing it.
In September 2019, the pair appealed the fines in Sunshine Magistrates court, which saw the presiding magistrate, Judge Wraight, reduce the fines. The defendants allegedly showed no remorse, and one of the defendants chose not to not show up at court.
Reaction and rebuilding campaign
Media response to the demolition included coverage in all the principle state and national radio, television and print news media, with both the Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne and Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle conducting media interviews on the site. Councillor Doyle referred to the illegal demolition as "the most brazen and wanton act of vandalism" he had seen in his political career.
In response to the incident several calls were made for increasing penalties for illegal demolition. An investigation by the Victorian Environment Protection Authority confirmed the presence of asbestos on the site.
Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne initially sought to have the pair rebuild the pub, through court action in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. While initially seeking to have the pub rebuilt to its original form, before the court case, Wynne dropped plans to have the pub rebuilt, instead allowing them to build a 12-storey tower on the site.  The deal allowed for the "cowboy developers" to not have to rebuild the pub at all, as long as they built their tower before 2022. It was estimated that the developers would receive huge financial benefits. Critics of developers, including parties to the case, were disappointed with deal, saying that the deal Wynne reached with them was no disincentive for rogue developers.
Following Wynne and the council's decision to allow the developers to develop the site and build a 12-storey tower, the state opposition and planning groups demanded that the Government compulsarily acquire the site, which was within their legal power to do so under section 172 of the Planning and Environment Act. It was argued this was the main method of setting a precedent and sending a message to further rogue developers.
- Rychter, Tacey (18 October 2016). "One of Carlton's Oldest Pubs Illegally Demolished". Broadsheet. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
- Vale Collection State Library Victoria, Vol 3 p.37. Subdivision of allotments no 8, 9, &20, Section 30 and Allotments 10 & 11 section 25 North Melbourne at Carlton, no date
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- C197 C198 City North Heritage Review 2012 RBA Architects 5 Feb 2013 pp.41-43, City of Melbourne
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- MELBOURNE PLANNING SCHEME, Incorporated Document City North Heritage Review 2012 Statements of Significance p.27
- Carlton Residents Association OBJECTION TO GRANT OF PLANNING PERMIT Planning and Environment Act 1987
- O'Keefe, Triana (13 November 2014). "Carlton pub sale smashes reserve". The Shout. Archived from the original on 10 March 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
- Allaoui, Therese (7 October 2016). "Pub set alight in suspicious blaze". Heraldsun. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
- Lucas, Clay (17 October 2016). "Call for 'hefty fines' after illegal wreckers flatten 159-year-old Carlton pub". The Age. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
- "corkman-developers-blasted-in-court-fined-more-than-500-000" Sydney Morning Herald
- "Corkman Pair Appeal $600,000 fine after guilty plea" The Age
- "Cowboy Developers who Razed Historic Corkman Pub Fined $1.325 million" The Age
- Clay Lucas "Fines cut in half for developers who demolished Corkman Pub" The Age September 6, 2019 https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/fines-cut-in-half-for-developers-who-demolished-corkman-pub-20190906-p52omx.html
- "'Cowboy' developers face $1m in penalties over pub destruction". Financial Review. 18 October 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- 'Victoria plans harsher penalties for 'cowboy developers' after historic pub demolished' by Calla Wahlquist, The Guardian online Tuesday 18 October 2016
- "EPA making enquiries into Corkman pub demolition". www.epa.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- "Developer who razed Corkman Pub Skips his court appeal to wed in Spain" The Age https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/developer-who-razed-corkman-pub-skips-his-court-appeal-to-wed-in-spain-20190819-p52inq.html
- Lucas, Clay (29 May 2019). "Corkman cowboys cut deal with minister and city council on pub site". The Age. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
- "Push For State to Forcibly Acquire Corkman site from Cowboy Developers", Clay Lucas, The Age, 1 June 2019