Contesting the heights

HERITAGE protection could save most of the Argo hotel site despite its redevelopment.

Stonnington Council last week voted unanimously to give the historic South Yarra site permanent heritage protection through its overlay policy. It will now put its decision to Planning Minister Justin Madden for approval.

Campaigners who feared the site would be lost to the developer’s proposed 42 residential units say the result is a win.

Campaign letters of support to the council pointed to the Argo’s social and community importance.

Campaign advocate Clem Newton-Brown said the latest decision meant the site’s development would have to work within heritage overlay limits, making it likely much of the hotel would be saved.

“The residents have achieved a real win which will see the historic Argo Hotel protected in any redevelopment of the site,” he said. “It just goes to show that community action can influence policy decisions.”

Mr Newton-Brown, a barrister and endorsed Liberal candidate for the state seat of Prahran, said the next challenge would be limiting the development’s height to fit with its neighbourhood. The developer withdrew an objection to the heritage listing ahead of council’s meeting.

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