The developers who unlawfully demolished Carlton’s Corkman Irish Pub are challenging an order to remove more asbestos from the site and prop up an unstable wall.
The company owned by Stefce Kutlesovski and Raman Shaqiri, 160 Leicester Pty Ltd, will appear on Thursday morning before the Building Appeals Board, to appeal against an order from Melbourne City Council.
Historic Carlton pub illegally bulldozed
Corkman Irish Pub opposite Melbourne University’s law building has been demolished after being sold to a local developer for $1.56 million above its reserve in 2014. (Video courtesy: Francisco Ossa)
The council’s Municipal Building Surveyor ordered the company to prop up an internal brick wall, which remained standing after the pub was knocked down in October last year without plotting or building permission.
Eleven months after the levelling of the 159-year-ancient pub – formerly known as the Carlton Inn – the site is a vacant lot covered in rubble and tarpaulins.
After a public outcry, Mr Kutlesovski and Mr Shaqiri apologised for their actions and promised Plotting Minister Richard Wynne they would rebuild the Corkman.
“We will reconstruct the hotel as it was, forthwith,” the pair wrote in a letter to Mr Wynne two weeks after the demolition.
The pair said they had “breached faith with the community and made very serious errors of judgement”.
“We will rebuild the build at our expense. We will willingly enter into the appropriate enforceable undertaking.”
Despite this, nothing has happened.
As well as propping up the unstable wall, the city council has ordered the company to clean asbestos from “bluestone, full bricks, half bricks and other building components”.
The order requires the materials to be stored on the site once they are cleaned.
But lawyers for the men will appear on Thursday to argue 160 Leicester should not be required to complete the work.
Their lawyer, Jamie Griffin, did not return calls on Wednesday on why they had not complied with the order and were instead seeking to challenge it.
Melbourne City Council will also on Thursday question the Melbourne Magistrates Court to prosecute the men for failing to comply with the emergency order.
A spokeswoman for the council said people walking past the site were not in any danger from the unstable wall.
“If the wall collapses, it will do so entirely on the site,” she said.
“The propping is required to protect people working on the site, not the public.”
The Environment Protection Authority has also issued a series of clean-up orders around the site.
An EPA spokesman said that these remedial notices required waste at the site to be kept covered and for any asbestos-contaminated material to be contained.
Mr Kutlesovski and Mr Shaqiri now face fines totalling up to $2 million.
Within months of their apology for the demolition, the pair – who have developed several residential projects in inner Melbourne and industrial properties in the city’s west – had changed their tune.
They are now suing Mr Wynne over rules he place on the site after the demolition.
The pair have hired top silk Stuart Morris, QC, a former head of the state plotting tribunal.
They are attempting to overturn in the Supreme Court plotting laws Mr Wynne place in place to prevent them building a high-rise tower where the pub stood.
A win in the Supreme Court would lift the value of land they bought in 2015 for $4.76 million to upwards of $10 million.
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