When former owners of a home handed over the keys to The Block they thought it would be safe from demolition, but they were in for a rude shock.
When former owners of a home handed over the keys to The Block they thought it would be safe from demolition, but they were in for a rude shock.

The Block’s latest move sparks outrage

Television show The Block has left heritage experts and residents outraged after one of five suburban Melbourne houses purchased for its upcoming season was demolished.

The Block buyer advocate Nicole Jacobs had sent a letter to residents saying: "The buyer does not wish to demolish any of the properties, rather to renovate them to a very high standard."

Heritage advocates and neighbours are furious the Bayside home was this week gutted and another stripped of period features.

 

The Block’s new site in Bronte Court, Hampton.
The Block’s new site in Bronte Court, Hampton.

But show creator Julian Cress was unapologetic, saying: "With any renovation or extension, demolition is required.

"The Block is a renovation show that is in the business of restoring homes."

The house pulled down was designed for The Small Homes Service, a project linked to esteemed Victorian architect Robin Boyd that brought good design to residential Melbourne development after WWII.

Robin Boyd Foundation operations manager Jamie Paterson said assurances had been sought about protecting the "perfect'' house, only for bulldozers to move in on Monday.

"We had spoken to The Block producers and they said 'we renovate houses, we don't demolish and this series was super popular because people appreciate what you can do with houses of different periods','' he said.

"But now they have gone ahead and demolished one, and all but demolished a second one.''

Mr Paterson said a house in the street, designed by Boyd's successor as Small Home Service director, Victorian architecture great Neil Clerehan, had also been "ripped apart''.

 

The Block 2021 location at Bronte Court in Hampton. Picture: Wayne Taylor
The Block 2021 location at Bronte Court in Hampton. Picture: Wayne Taylor

 

The house was referenced in a 2008 Bayside Heritage study but not protected because the council has not formalised a register in more than 20 years.

Bayside Council development and city planning manager Matthew Cripps said no planning permit was required for demolition of the house.

 

"Under the Bayside Planning Scheme, a planning permit is not required for the demolition or construction of single dwellings on blocks larger than 500 sqm," he said.

"As none of the properties in Bronte Court are covered by heritage controls, there is no planning permit required."

 

A Bronte resident told the Herald Sun: "Certainly their plans seem to have changed, even though about two weeks ago they came and told us it was all going to be about retaining the existing and doing a renovation to them."

peter.rolfe@news.com.au

 

Originally published as The Block's latest move sparks outrage



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