Victoria Minister for Planning Richard Wynne
Hotel Windsor Development Extension Refused
Victor P Taffa
Andrews Government has refused to extend a permit to redevelop the historic Windsor Hotel.
Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has denied an application for an extension by The Halim Group, who are proposing to demolish part of the rear of the Hotel Windsor and build a new 26 story luxury hotel behind it.
This is the fourth time they have asked for more time, Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said.
“Developers have failed to secure finance or show a real willingness to get construction started despite having 9 years to do so.” Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said.
“If the same application for development was brought to me today, I would have to reject it immediately planning rules and community expectations have changed.”
Developers have had 9 years to complete construction since the original permit was granted however almost no progress has been made since their last extension 3 years ago.
Halim Group was wanting until August 2023, dragging the process out for 13 years and defying industry and community expectations.
Developers still have until 31 March next year to complete the work.
Since the original application was granted in 2010, there have been 4 major amendments to the planning scheme that protects the Bourke Hill precinct where the Windsor is located.
These include strict height controls along Spring, Bourke and Lonsdale Streets ensuring our city’s landmarks are protected and streetscapes are not overshadowed.
Halim Group’s proposed 26 story hotel is almost 92 metres high, and nearly 52 metres taller than the current 25 metre mandatory height control on Spring street and the 40-metre height limit at the rear in Windsor Place.
Planning scheme amendments, which were made in consultation with the community, mean this permit would have to be refused if the application was made today.
Hotel Windsor, built in 1883, is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria and is protected by a heritage overlay. It is also listed on the Victorian heritage register which means the owners must maintain it and not allow it to fall into disrepair.