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Festival Hall saved? historic venue closer to heritage protection

If secured, it will thwart developers' plans. 

Festival Hall is under threat, with a planning proposal lodged to Melbourne City Council that would turn the historic venue into apartments, retail and office space. 

However, the venue might be saved after all. Festival Hall has been nominated for the Victorian Heritage Register, which would further protect the site from dramatic changes. 

The heritage recommendation was based upon factors including Festival Hall's historical and social significance, its place in Victorian history, and its role in Victoria's live music community. 

“Inclusion on the Victorian Heritage Register will mean any development on the Festival Hall site will have to respect the character and the history that makes Festival Hall so special,” said Minister for Planning Richard Wyne. 

“Nothing speaks to Melbourne’s arts, music and sporting culture quite like Festival Hall. It has a proud history, and heritage protection will give it a safe and secure future too.”

If the Heritage Council of Victoria decides to include Festival Hall on the Victorian Heritage Register, any proposed development would need a heritage permit before it could proceed.

However, the process still has a long way to go. Developers can still rebut the application, and make submissions over what can and can't be removed from the site. 

Festival Hall has sat at the heart of Melbourne’s live music scene for more than 60 years, playing host to blockbuster acts such as The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Have your say at heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au