Fears east-west link will damage Clifton Hill shot tower

Melbourne Times: Fears east-west link will damage Clifton Hill shot tower. By Alana Schetzer 8 April 2014

Clifton Hill’s historic shot tower could sustain damage from construction of the contentious east-west link, according to a new report.

The 48-metre tower was built in 1882 on Alexandra Parade and was originally used for manufacturing lead shot.

The brick tower has semi-circular arched windows and the shaft is decorated with polychrome patterns.

Heritage Victoria has declared it to be of “historical and architectural significance to the state of Victoria”.

A report commissioned by Harwood Andrews Lawyers revealed that two heritage precincts in Yarra – Gold Street, Collingwood, and parts of Alexandra Parade, Clifton Hill – will suffer “direct adverse impact” from the new toll road.

The tower’s immediate setting will change during and after construction, the report stated. “Presently open land used for storage associated with another site will become part of the development land. It is not clear in what manner it will be affected, i.e. what may be constructed in proximity to the shot tower.”

The report stated it was not clear how the tower’s setting would change and that there was concern the tower itself would be damaged due to vibrations and other construction works.

Acting Yarra mayor Geoff Barbour said a comprehensive impact statement lacked details on how the tower would be protected.

“Council is concerned that the undetermined location of the required ventilation stack for the tunnel may compete with view lines and the importance of the shot tower’s local landmark presence within Alexandra Parade,” he said.

“The proposed Hoddle Street flyover is also likely to further undermine views to the shot tower.”

Linking Melbourne Authority spokeswoman Gemma Boucher hosed down concerns and said construction workers would need to abide by strict conditions to ensure the tower’s structural integrity remained intact.

“This is spelt out in their performance requirements, which they must follow. Depending on the proximity of the works, they may also carry out continuous real-time monitoring to protect the shot tower.”

Ms Boucher said the concept plan was being reviewed by an independent assessment committee. The location of the ventilation structure would be decided in the future, she said.

The controversial project is estimated to cost between $8 billion and $12 billion and will connect the east and west of the city via an underground tunnel.

Residents across the cities of Yarra and Melbourne, including Collingwood, Fitzroy, Kensington and Clifton Hill, will be directly affected, with almost 200 homes and businesses expected to be compulsorily acquired.

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