Heritage Victoria recently approved the demolition of the former Sheep Pavilion following a lengthy application and approval process which commenced in July 2015. The RASV application for demolition included a heritage assessment undertaken by a heritage consultant and a business case prepared by Ernst & Young. This business case, including a financial analysis, supported RASV’s position that demolition of the pavilion was the most viable long-term option for the Melbourne Showgrounds site for a number of reasons detailed below:
- The pavilion is no longer fit for purpose and cannot be used in its present unrenovated condition because it is unsafe for occupancy
- Renovation would involve a significant cost to RASV and would not guarantee that a commercially viable use could be found for the pavilion
- Demolition of the former pavilion would provide a much needed increase in car parking capacity which is currently not sufficient to meet exhibitor and patron demand
- A number of revenue generating events are at risk of being lost from the Melbourne Showgrounds due to lack of onsite car parking
In accordance with the heritage permit, a heritage photographer was onsite on 6 April and photographed the pavilion, with records to be kept with Heritage Victoria, the State Library and the RASV Heritage Collection. Demolition is forecast to commence on Monday 16 May with anticipated completion within 2-3 weeks. In the medium term, it is planned that the former building area and western support land will be developed for car parking and back of house support for the Royal Melbourne Show and other events throughout the year. As the Melbourne Showgrounds site is included on the Victorian Heritage Register and is subject to the provisions of the Heritage Act 1995, the demolition was approved under the condition that RASV would continue its commitment to the ongoing maintenance of the remaining heritage buildings onsite.