Update: 31 July 2023
What is happening with the environmental contamination clean-up of the vacant land where the corrugated iron brick pressing shed and brick steam engine house were located?
The landowner has advised that the exposed soil areas were sealed with a geofabric membrane and a surface layer of crushed rock in July 2022, to prevent dust generation and manage surface water to address potential safety concerns
The EPA has issued a notice to the landowner that requires them to implement remediation and monitoring requirements. These are specified in an auditor-verified clean-up plan.
The landowner will be progressing clean up, associated with further groundwater monitoring. They will also be undertaking pilot remediation trials. These will inform the future environmental audit. These actions are expected to conclude in September 2024 and are not expected to cause significant disruption.
How can residents be assured that the clean-up work will be carried out safely?
The Clean Up Plan is being implemented by a qualified environmental contamination consultant commissioned by the landowner. This is a requirement of the Environmental Action Notice issued by the EPA.
What is the timing on the redevelopment of the site, what is being considered and when will residents be consulted?
No applications for planning approvals from Council or permits from Heritage Victoria have been submitted or presented for discussion in the last 18 months. The timing for redevelopment is unknown.
What has happened to the brick making machinery that was on the site?
The machinery from Hoffman Brickworks was removed in accordance with a permit issued by Heritage Victoria in 2021. Heritage Victoria are aware of the off-site locations where the machinery and other heritage fabric is stored.
The machinery is an important part of the heritage significance of the site and must be conserved and returned to site in accordance with the Heritage Victoria permit.
What is happening with the heritage repair works to the historic chimney?
On 2 June 2023 Heritage Victoria issued an enforcement order which requires the landowners to undertake repair works to the chimney. The order offers two options:
- Dismantling and reconstructing the top part of the chimney, repointing, and reinstatement of steel bands and lightning conductor.
- Stabilising and repairing the brickwork, with a plan to do this provided to Heritage Victoria for endorsement before 3 July 2023, plus the reinstatement of steel bands and lightning conductor.
Heritage Victoria is currently reviewing the repair plan provided by the landowner.
When will the heritage chimney be made safe?
All repair works required under the order must be completed by 2 June 2024, unless Heritage Victoria extends the timeframe.
Update: 28 June 2022
Former Steam Engine House demolished following Heritage Victoria approval
In January 2022 Heritage Victoria (HV) granted permission for the demolition of the former Steam Engine House building located on the corner of Brickworks Drive and Dawson Street. The building has been subsequently demolished.
Heritage Victoria requires the owner store the heritage machinery and equipment offsite, for conservation and eventual replacement back on site when the site is redeveloped. A $100,000 bond has been paid to Heritage Victoria in relation to this matter. Some of the equipment has been stored in two offsite warehouses with the remaining equipment to follow. Any redevelopment of the site will require a planning permit from Council. This process will include public notification and consideration of community submissions.
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) requires the owner address contamination on the site. The process of site remediation can take time, with an Environmental Audit report due to the EPA by March 2024. The Audit Report is required before the land can be remediated.
In relation to the freestanding chimney, scaffolding has enabled a closer examination of the structure. Council in collaboration with Heritage Victoria are currently determining the scope of works to stabilise and make the structure safe.
Photo: Free-standing chimney
Update: 5 January 2022
Owner applies to Heritage Victoria to demolish the former Steam Engine House
Council has objected to an application before Heritage Victoria (HV) to demolish the former Steam Engine House building located on the corner of Brickworks Drive and Dawson Street. Unlike the former Corrugated Iron Shed that is currently being demolished due to an Emergency Order related to public safety, the Steam Engine House was made stable in 2020.
Heritage Victoria is responsible for community notification of the application which included notices on site. Unfortunately, there are no appeal rights for Council or the community, should HV support the application.
For any further questions about the application, please contact Heritage Victoria on 03 7022 6373 or email@example.com
Update: 5 November 2021
New Emergency Order requiring complete dismantling of Corrugated Iron former Brick Pressing Shed
Hoffman Brickworks is included on the Victorian Heritage Register. Heritage Victoria is the State Government agency that oversees all heritage permit applications, as well as maintenance, restoration and heritage interpretation works. Council is responsible for the consideration of planning permit applications. Permits from Council and Heritage Victoria are not required when the Municipal Building Surveyor (MBS) issues an Emergency Order to make buildings safe.
Site contamination and new Emergency Order to dismantle the Pressing Shed
In August 2021, an expert contamination report was provided to Council and Heritage Victoria. The report concluded that approximately 3-6 metres of soil must be excavated under the Pressing Shed to clean up the land. This is required to comply with an Environment Protection Authority Clean Up Notice. An independent Structural Engineer was then commissioned by Heritage Victoria. The engineer determined that it is not practical or feasible to retain the Pressing Shed given the works required to clean up the land.
Given the above, and further deterioration of the building following storm events of 29 October, a new Emergency Order has been issued on 1 November 2021. The Emergency Order requires the owner completely dismantle the Pressing Shed. This work is expected to commence in November and be completed in early 2022.
Council, Heritage Victoria and the landowner are working closely to ensure important heritage materials and machinery are temporarily relocated, so they can be later returned as part of future heritage interpretation.
Photo above: Corrugated iron former Brick Pressing Shed
Photo below: Brick press machinery within the Pressing Shed
What is happening with the free-standing Chimney?
In October 2021, an Emergency Order as well as a direction from Heritage Victoria has been issued to further protect and make the chimney safe. This includes scaffolding to be erected to the chimney for brick work repairs and repointing.
Photo: Free-standing chimney
What is happening with the former Steam Engine House building?
The former Steam Engine House is located on the corner of Dawson Street and Brickworks Drive. Works were completed to make this building safe during 2020. It is not subject to an Emergency Order. Any demolition or future development of this building will require permits from Heritage Victoria and Council.
Photo: Former Steam Engine House
What is happening with the development application with Heritage Victoria?
In 2020, the landowner applied to Heritage Victoria to demolish the former Pressing Shed and Steam Engine House. The proposal included a multi-storey building with apartments, ground floor café and commercial uses that include some of the heritage equipment. The application was withdrawn in 2021.
Before redevelopment can occur, the landowner must obtain permits from Heritage Victoria and Council. If an application is received, it will be placed on public notice. This provides opportunity for submissions before a decision is made.
Join us at a community forum
An online resident meeting will be held on Tuesday 30 November 2021 between 6 -7pm where we will invite questions from the community and provide further information. If you wish to attend, please RSVP by 26 November 2021 to Lisa Gallagher on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9240 1280.
Find out more
If you have any other questions or concerns please contact Darren Camilleri, Merri-bek Council Planning Coordinator on 9240 1281.
Update: 14 May 2021
Building Appeals Board determination upholds the Municipal Building Surveyor’s Emergency Order for make safe works
On 4 May 2021, the Building Appeals Board (BAB) upheld the Emergency Order issued by the Municipal Building Surveyor (MBS). The Emergency Order requires make safe work to be undertaken including partial demolition works for the State Heritage listed corrugated iron former Pressing Shed. The owner had challenged the order to ‘partially demolish’ the building to facilitate the full demolition of the building, arguing the Emergency Order was issued in error by taking heritage issues into consideration. However, the BAB disagreed and found the MBS had appropriately issued the Emergency Order noting it was relevant for the MBS to consider the heritage significance of the building.
The Owner is required to comply with the Emergency Order and Council are now working through the next steps to ensure the owner meets their obligations for compliance.
Read the Building Appeal Board decision on the Building Appeals Board of Victoria website.
Update: 24 December 2020
Hoffman Brickworks owner appeals Emergency Order for make safe works at the Building Appeals Board
On 11 December 2020, the owner of the Hoffman Brickworks site lodged an appeal with the Buildings Appeals Board (BAB) challenging the Emergency Order issued by the Municipal Building Surveyor. The Emergency Order requires make safe work to be undertaken including partial demolition works for the State Heritage listed corrugated iron former Pressing Shed. These works were required to commence 7 December 2020. The owner is challenging the order to ‘partially demolish’ the building, and wishes to completely demolish the building.
A BAB hearing will take place 20 January 2021 to consider the matter. Whilst the appeal has meant that the make safe works have not been commenced as required by 7 December 2020, the Municipal Building Surveyor is satisfied that there is no immediate safety risk to residents.
Update: 4 December 2020
Emergency order issued for make safe works to Hoffman Brickworks, Brunswick
On 22 October 2020, Merri-bek City Council notified residents near Hoffman Brickworks of emergency ‘make safe’ works, including partial demolition works for the State Heritage listed corrugated iron former Pressing Shed. These are scheduled to take place over a 6 to 8 week period.
Hoffman Brickworks is included on the Victorian Heritage Register. Heritage Victoria, the State Government’s heritage agency, oversees all heritage permit applications, as well as maintenance, restoration and heritage interpretation works.
Moreland City Council is responsible for the consideration of planning permit applications; this does not include heritage matters when approvals have been issued by Heritage Victoria.
The landowner has had obligations under the Heritage Act to maintain the heritage buildings since purchasing the land two decades ago. As part of the approvals to develop the site over the years the owner has entered into agreements with Council that reflect Heritage Victoria obligations to retain and restore these state significant heritage buildings. The owner’s lack of maintenance, along with the fire in 2018 which damaged the Corrugated Iron Pressing Shed, has contributed to the current poor state of the building.
What has occurred since October?
Corrugated Iron Pressing Shed
Following an expert structural engineering assessment, the roof and upper levels of the Corrugated Iron Pressing Shed are required to be demolished due to safety reasons. Council’s MBS has issued an Emergency Order for these works to occur.
Free standing Chimney No 1
A rusting and heavy corroded steel equipment box, pipework and a steel-plated door has been removed from the base of the chimney to address public safety. Future brick work repairs and repointing is scheduled to the base and upper level of the chimney.
What is happening with the development application with Heritage Victoria?
The landowner has applied to Heritage Victoria to completely demolish the Corrugated Iron Pressing Shed and Steam Engine House. The proposal is to build a multi-storey building with apartments, ground floor café and commercial uses that include some of the heritage equipment. Public notification of the application by Heritage Victoria finished on 10 November 2020 and 54 objections were received.
Moreland City Council considered the application at its 26 August 2020 Planning and Related Matters meeting and resolved to confirm its objection to the application. The landowner has not adequately justified the need for complete demolition of all buildings due to contamination and structural assumptions. Council also consider the lack of maintenance by the owner should not result in the loss of important heritage buildings for the community.
Before re-development of the site can occur, the landowner must obtain a planning permit in addition to a Heritage Victoria permit. An application to Council has not been received. Any application to Council for redevelopment of the site would also be placed on public notification.
For more details on our objection to the owner’s application to Heritage Victoria, you can read our Council report (PDF) from the October 26 2020.
The photos below are from the landowner's application to Heritage Victoria for demolition and redevelopment of the former Hoffman Brickworks brick pressing shed and steam engine house at 72-106 Dawson Street, Brunswick.