Decision Maker Response

Susan Rennie’s response

May 21, 2020 — On Monday 18 May 2020, the Darebin City Council resolved to call on the VPA and Minister for Planning to put in place the strongest possible protections to ensure the Preston Market retains what the community loves about it despite any potential future change to the site.

Since then, a number of false claims and misinformation have circulated online and created considerable confusion in the community about what Council is doing to protect the much-loved market. Disturbingly, some of the claims being spread include the false claim that Council voted to demolish the market. This is blatantly untrue.

This statement seeks to call out these false claims and set the record straight to ensure the community has an accurate, clear and credible source of information.

At the 18 May Council Meeting, the Council resolved to call on the state government to apply a permanent Heritage Overlay to the Preston Market as part of the package of planning controls and mechanisms it is working on for the entire Preston Market Precinct, and called on the Minister for Planning to put in place an immediate Interim Heritage Overlay whilst these controls are being developed.

Currently the state government is reviewing the planning ‘rules’ at the site, and Council is advocating hard for strong rules that protect what’s important about the market. These rules are important because they are the rules that will apply if the private owner wants to change or develop the site.

Darebin Council urges concerned community members to not believe the claims about the market being demolished. Instead, Darebin Council strongly urges people to read the Minutes from the meeting (due to be uploaded today), watch the Council Meeting debate that was livestreamed. Council will also prepare a myth-busting page on its website.

Darebin Council loves the Preston Market and is determined to ensure it thrives well into the future.

It is important to note the Preston Market is owned and run privately – just like supermarkets are. Many people are surprised by this, and while Council loves the market and wants to protect it, it doesn’t have the power to just do this. That is why Council is calling on the VPA (the planning authority for the site) to apply the strongest possible protections to the market precinct.

The only role of Darebin City Council is to represent the views of the community and to advocate on their behalf to ensure the market is protected. Council has invested a considerable sum of money to obtain numerous independent studies and reports over many years to ensure we can provide a comprehensive, evidence-based case to the state government and the VPA as to why the market must be protected, should the owner wish to develop the site.

Council’s requests of the VPA relating to the future of the Preston Market have been outlined in the Heart of Preston document. This document sets out Council’s vision as to how the market, its collection of diverse traders, and open and airy feel can not only be protected into the future, but be allowed to thrive.