Beaumaris architecture enthusiasts are again going in to battle to save a historic Beach Rd mid-century home that has been at ongoing risk of demolition.
An application to build two new dwellings at No. 372 of the iconic Melbourne stretch lodged with Bayside City Council is open to objections until Monday, November 4.
Council will then consider the application including community objections.
The proposed new development would replace the two-storey modernist house designed by Arthur Russell and require “road access, removal of vegetation, (and) construction of front fence exceeding maximum height”, according to the planning application with council.
Beaumaris Modern successfully fought alongside the local community against previous plans for developing the site by the same owner earlier this year, which the council rejected.
The group’s vice president Annie Price said the new challenge was “about the fifth time” the property with “a lot of architectural merit and historical value” had been at risk.
“Unfortunately, you can’t object to council on that basis. It’s null and void because there’s no heritage protection on the house.” she said.
“It’s very special. It’s been designed in an unusual kite shape to best work with the block and capture the best ocean views.
“Unfortunately, it’s been neglected but it’s just in need of a bit of tender loving care to bring it back.”
Ms Price said the council had ditched a proposed study to identify the most significant post-war homes in favour of voluntary submissions by owners of individual properties.
“All these incredible young architects like (Robin) Boyd, Arthur Russell and Peter McIntyre flocked here in the 1960s to experiment with new designs, and created all these wild and wonderful mid-century homes,” she said.
“There was so much optimism that led to these unique, beautiful, individualistic houses.
“We still have some special homes hidden behind the tea trees here, but we’ve lost some really significant ones and The Abrahams House has been at risk so many times; I just can’t see why council can’t do something to save it.”
Bayside City Council director city planning and amenity Dr Hamish Reid said the detailed study on mid-century modern heritage was proposed by the council last year but abandoned following “significant opposition from property owners”.
“The voluntary inclusion process seeks to strike a balance between the protection of significant heritage buildings and opposition from property owners,” he said.
“Council wrote to 6500 property owners in late 2018 inviting them to nominate their properties. 372 Beach Road was not nominated.”
No. 372 was covered by a vegetation overlay that required a permit for the removal of native vegetation and zoned neighbourhood residential — allowing for multi dwellings on a single block with a maximum height limit of two storeys, Mr Reid said.
“The property was previously identified as having potential heritage significance however a detailed heritage study has not been done,” he said.
The 1960 property at 372 Beach Rd was on the market for some time this year for $2.4-$2.5 million, having last sold for $2.2 million in 2015, according to CoreLogic.
Beaumaris Modern’s website states “The Abrahams House” is “one of very few original mid-century homes left on Beach Rd”.
Ms Price said MCM homes were designed for the local climate and landscape and it would be “madness” to pull one down to replace it with two homes squeezed onto a block.