Top honour for the City of Melbourne’s major Hoddle Grid Heritage Review

Top honour for the City of Melbourne’s major Hoddle Grid Heritage Review
Brendan Rees

One of the most comprehensive heritage reviews to be undertaken in the CBD, which saw more than 100 buildings being protected, has earned the City of Melbourne a prestigious planning honour. 

The council took out the strategic planning project award for its Hoddle Grid Heritage Review at the 2022 Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) Victorian Awards for Planning Excellence on November 11.

The heritage review was the largest of its kind to be undertaken by a local government in Victoria and the first review of heritage buildings to be conducted in the central city since the 1990s. 

Permanent heritage controls were ultimately given to 121 buildings and five precincts within the Hoddle Grid, including Hardware Lane, Flinders Lane, the Waiters Club restaurant, the Hill of Content bookshop, and the Victoria Club building.

The award follows the State Government’s decision in September to approve an amendment to the Melbourne Planning Scheme allowing new heritage protections to buildings across the city.

“I am thrilled that the City of Melbourne’s brilliant heritage planners have been honoured with this award,” Cr Rohan Leppert, the council’s heritage portfolio lead said, who also initiated the heritage review in 2016.

“The scale of this project is unprecedented in local government in Victoria. From the Aboriginal histories to the thematic studies of Melbourne’s complicated layers of development, this project has set a new mark for heritage planning.”

In announcing the award, the PIA recognised the heritage strategy team and Aboriginal Melbourne at the City of Melbourne for their extraordinary efforts.


“The Hoddle Grid Heritage Review is a comprehensive strategic project which recognises post-war and social significance together with the adoption of a co-research model to assess Aboriginal significance,” the PIA said in a statement.


“The judges found the project’s collaboration with community, including First Nations and multi-disciplinary input, is visionary in its approach, that offers transferability to other scenarios.”

It also noted the project had set a new benchmark for cultural heritage assessment, “engaging with both thematic and spatial analysis to reveal a deep understanding of Melburnians’ strong connection to their city”.

“It is effective in implementation and provides leadership in identifying and recording Aboriginal significance of places and how these places can be protected.”

The council’s planning chair Cr Nicholas Reece previously said that the heritage review was a major step to protecting significant buildings for generations to come, and was something to rejoice “for those who have been heartbroken by the loss of too many of Melbourne’s heritage buildings”.

The awards night was held at ZINC Federation Square at the PIA’s Victorian Celebration of Planning Dinner.

The night recognised organisations that showcase leading practice across a range of planning disciplines, while also promoting planning success. •

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