Old Corkman pub site transformed into community park

Old Corkman pub site transformed into community park
Katie Johnson

The site of the iconic, heritage-listed Corkman Hotel which was illegally demolished by developers in October 2016 has been turned into a park for locals to enjoy.

The developers, Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski, have been ordered to pay for the park which will remain until the site is redeveloped.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the new playground would provide a new green space for the inner-city community.

“A new park on the corner of Leicester and Pelham streets in Carlton is open for the community to enjoy, until redevelopment occurs on the former Corkman Hotel site,” the Lord Mayor said.

“It is pleasing to see the block transformed into a new inner city green open space with grass and seating for people to exercise, relax and take their pets.”   

Built in 1857, the Corkman Hotel was one of the oldest pubs in Carlton and was illegally demolished without a permit after a suspicious fire occurred the week before.

The developers bought the pub and its 456 sqm of land in 2014 for $4.76m, with reported plans to convert it into an apartment building up to 12 storeys high.

They were fined almost a million dollars and have faced a four-year-long legal battle with the state government for demolishing the building which was protected by heritage rules.

The state government also passed new laws with five-year jail terms and increased fines for developers who demolish heritage buildings.

Almost 20,000 students have signed a petition calling for the pub to be restored by the developers.

Melbourne University law student Henry Lindsay said the nearby pub served as the local haunt for students.

“We loved that pub. It was our pub. The cheap beer. The wedges. Its proximity to the law school. The glorious Irish folk band that coalesced on a Thursday evening,” Mr Lindsay wrote on the Change.org petition.

Carlton resident Emily Corcoran said that the temporary park would be a great addition for locals with children.

“While unfortunately this is only a very temporary addition of public open space, it’s a reminder of how valuable every little patch of green can be to families raising kids in the inner city,” Ms Corcoran said.

“With playgrounds currently closed, small spaces like this have the opportunity to provide play experiences in nature for that improve mental health outcomes for kids and adults alike.”

“Well-designed public open space can cater to the needs of all age groups, even without the excitement of large bits of playground equipment.”

Development plans for the site will be submitted by 2022 •

Caption: The new park sits on the site of the Corkman Pub which stood for 163 years before being illegally demolished.

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