80A-88 Charles Street Launceston TAS 7250

General Retail and Hire - Alterations to signage

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We found this application for you on the planning authority's website over 1 year ago. It was received by them 17 days earlier.

(Source: Launceston City Council, reference DA0698/2018)


Have your say by adding your own comment.

  1. Lisa Walkden commented

    I was surprised to see recently that there was no longer a pharmacy and that this iconic corner of Launceston was vacant.
    The early 1900 facade with the hand made lead light glass stating that the pharmacy was once Hatton and Laws is a historical link back to the past.
    it's very attractive as it's beautifully designed and has been a feature of our city for over 100 years this is one of the few intact shop fronts in Launceston and must be preserved as a example of what our city once look like.

  2. Allan Miller commented

    My message to the applicant, via their website;


    seems to sum it up.

    Hi - I have recently discovered that you are intending to open a store in Launceston, Tas ?

    I saw your plans for the original Hatton & Laws facade and was totally amazed that you intend to remove it.

    In Launceston this kind of heritage is looked upon as intrinsic to the city - unlike larger places where this kind of valuable history has already largely been lost. While the current council is not great with heritage, I would expect quite a public backlash if these plans are made too public. Locals are quite attached to their historic buildings !

    Do you have any plan Bs that dont include the ruining of the facade ?

    Please feel free to contact me, or ask for any other info.

    Here is a link to the proposal - which I am sure you will agree is very brutal indeed !



  3. Anne Clifton commented

    The unique charm of Launceston is that it missed out on mass modernisation over the ages. This lovely building is special because of its corner position, curved glass frontage and leadlights typical of an era.

    It would be a shame to allow a ubiquitous 'outlet' frontage to replace/remove these features. I understand this business has a brand to convey. It seems as though its 300 other locations can adapt to its surrounds - why can't the architects make its 'Launnie' features part of their branding?

    Launceston is not like other towns. Nor do we need to be. We have character. Let us keep it, let us enhance it - not white it out with a corporate/bank like blank.

  4. Jarad Murray commented

    As an immigrant to Launceston one of it's real charms is the character of the streetscape, especially around the CBD. Under no circumstances should the original facade of this shop front be allowed to be removed. The curved glass frontage and leadlight is of an era and should be SOOO easy to integrate into the design of any new shop. If anything, it will add to the facade.

    The council should seriously consider protecting the remaining original shop fronts to retain as much character in the city as possible. Is it possible to heritage list the facade of this building?

  5. Allan Miller commented

    And the reply from Michael Hill (for anyone interested) doesn't seem to show that they are very interested in compromise. I am not sure that he is entirely correct re window replacements etc either, but I will leave it to someone much more qualified than I am to tell him so.

    Interesting that he seems to think that the Mall upgrade (which no doubt will be replaced again in a couple of short decades) has set the precedent regarding the replacement of heritage with modern architecture too.

    Hi Allan,

    I have been sent your email from our online team and appreciate your interest in our newest store coming to Launceston.

    You are correct in that we are opening soon, in fact, preliminary site works have already started which is very exciting for us.

    I can understand your concerns around the heritage nature of the site, we have recently completed a refurbishment on a building in George St, Sydney that was built in the 1800’s with every heritage overlay imaginable, we embraced that with our designs which ended with a wonderful result for both Michael Hill and the City of Sydney.

    This particular tenancy currently doesn’t have any heritage overlays and from what we have been advised by the building owners, the under awning stained glass windows and curved glass façade have all been replaced and are not original. With this in mind and given surrounding recent tenancy fitouts and design we have opted for the store design you have seen on the council planning website.

    Having said that, our designer recognised that the above awning façade on not just our building but also the surrounding buildings were as you say intrinsic to the look of the downtown area and has opted to remain sympathetic to the surrounding sites by not altering that in any way.

    We feel that with the upper façade remaining, this will embrace the local area feel while the proposed under awning works will tie in with surrounding newer tenancies and also the recently completed modern upgrades to the Brisbane St mall directly opposite.

    As you can imagine, balancing both modern fitouts with older elements can be tricky but we all believe we have successfully fulfilled the brief on this site.

    We look forward to having our first ever store in Launceston and sharing some of our history and products with the Launceston residents.

    Thanks Allen.


    Brett Lancelot
    Manager – Projects & Design
    New Zealand | Canada | Australia

    P. +61 7 3114 3593
    M. +61 411 315 287
    E. brett.lancelot@michaelhill.com.au
    A.. 7 Smallwood Pl, Murrarie, 4172, QLD Australia

  6. Marion Sargent commented

    I am disappointed that the DA for this site was not released until after building works started. I am appalled that the beautiful and unique stained glass windows and tiles are not to be retained. I would like to know when the glass was supposed to have been replaced? Even if it is not the original 1927 glass it still has a place in Launceston's history as a reminder that the corner was once the oldest continuosly operating chemist shop in Australia. A chemist had been on that site since 1848, but the business was older than that. If it was possible to incorporate the heritage values of your building in Sydney, why not here? There are so few examples left: Chung Gon, F&W Stewart and The Umbrella Shop (partly replaced but still important). We do care about our history and unique character. We don't need to look like every other city. Tourists and locals alike appreciate our difference. Just because the Mall has new paving doesn't mean that everything else has to be modern and sterile as well. I am pleased that the awning and upper storey are to be retained.

  7. Anne Jones commented

    How sad that a new business to Launceston would choose to disregard heritage features and fail to understand what it is that makes Australia’s third oldest city unique . What is even sadder and probably more disappointing, is that there appears to be no “body”, which cares to regulate new building and redevelopment with a desire for retaining quality craftsmanship and a sense of history . It is the skilful talent for combining the old and new which makes cities vibrant and inviting to both visitors and residents . Please do not let Launceston go down the path of homogenous and tasteless chain store facades.

  8. Ross Millar commented

    How disappointingly sad!
    Irrespective of the finer points of enforceable heritage overlays et al, this is an historic link to retailing architecture of the past.
    Simply beautiful, simply irreplaceable, simply what makes Launceston a city for citizens and visitors to marvel at, reminiscence and enjoy.
    As recent new settlers to Launceston, we walk around the CBD and are absorbed in the magnificent preserved architecture (unlike our previous Victorian city home).
    You have to wonder why the historic shopfront could not have been incorporated in a newer design to produce convenience, but still retain the essence of what inherently represents Launceston.
    The CBD needs features and this is and could be promoted as such.

  9. Jean Chapman commented

    I believe that the facade with the stained glass windows should be preserved. In my opinion there have been far too many demolitions and facade alterations in our historical city. People come to Launceston to see the remains of this beautiful city, not modern steel, concrete and glass boxes.

  10. Andrew D Alexander commented

    I would like to help the proponent succeed in Launceston without causing damage, and if these plans are passed in anything like the advertised plans then I would like my name to be among the names of people who spoke out. The modern showy and glittery design in the plans is something that could be a shop front anywhere from Shanghai to Las Vegas. That may be fine in a new shopping centre, but the problem here is the stripping away of the character of a corner that is different and interesting because it was built in another time and tells a unique story. This sort of intrusion into this city, if allowed, will have a profound effect on the city's culture and attractiveness: the rebuilt shop front would say something to everyone about what we would be - a city that doesn't care about remaining beautiful by keeping its old and interesting fabric, and a society, to its shame, not strong enough to remain different from everywhere else in spite of its rich heritage, and, incidentally, to its own eventual economic loss.

    There are clever and imaginative architects and designers in Tasmania who could adapt and modernise these central sites without stripping away charming details and without impositions that suggest superficiality. It is worth suggesting as a hint that working with the antique nature of the existing building would create, along with the vicinity, a happier and warmer ambience for selling jewellery to tourists and visitors than the proposal shown because of the pleasure of encountering something genuine and sympathetic. I recommend a rethink, but if all this falls on otherwise determined minds then we need to wait, because Launceston is rapidly being discovered for what it presently is, and if we preserve valuable details of our built heritage then people of taste and discernment will fill these spaces fairly soon and enrich our city in every way.

  11. Karen Hewitt commented

    As a newly arrived Launcestonian (?) I am saddened that such a design would be sanctioned. Coming from a concrete and steel clone-a-city, I was really taken by the historical beauty that was preserved in the town, and that did play a part in helping us decide to move. Those windows are so gorgeous, I wonder what aesthetically-minded architect would have planned to remove them! Surely they would showcase whatever was to be retailed there - ESPECIALLY jewellery. Looking at the plans I can only comment that they turn what is currently a glittering gem of a site into a bland and boring frontage. Very easy to walk right on past. Heritage should be nurtured as a pathway to the past for any town, and why not strive for beauty in what you do? In this case striving is super easy - just leave what’s there alone!

  12. Claire Richardson wrote to local councillor Janie Finlay

    What a disgrace!!! I wish I was appalled but this is just so typical of Launceston "progress jobs and growth," you've already put multiple full time employees on decent salaries out of work and shut down a great new Tasmanian restaurant with the owner leaving the state to accommodate 20 cars recently, why destroy the very heritage that is supposed to be a big part of our "tourism economy" for some smarmy franchise that won't last longer than 10 years if that? Think again Launceston.

    Delivered to local councillor Janie Finlay. They are yet to respond.

  13. Mackenzie Gordon commented

    I am disappointed by the lack of forethought in retaining our cultural identity in this design. I live in Launceston and love it's heritage factor and that it has retained so many if it's old buildings and facades. This is what sets us apart from other cities. Yes modernisation has its place, but not at the cost of what makes us unique. I noted in one of the replies that the mall refurbishment was brought into it. They should note that residents have heavily cruised this refurbishment. The facade may not be original, but it is far more interesting than the proposed replacement. Please reconsider keeping our heritage intact, modernising and moving with the times should not mean erasing all traces of the past

  14. Tara Badcock wrote to local councillor Albert van Zetten

    The old Hatton & Laws pharmacy building is a beloved old treasure and could be treated with so much more respect and VISION than the proposed plans show.
    If the windows were not already boarded up I would gaffa tape myself to them to stop the demolition of the shop front in favour of a generic glass box with electronic doors...there are plenty of those already in Launceston and they’re so bland I rarely notice them or bother to enter the shops (filled with generic mass produced ‘product’)

    Launceston is running out of old gems like this which are visually interesting, elegantly constructed and embody links with an historical past as well as an architectural and cultural and artistic Australian Heritage. Visitors come to Launceston specifically because of the beautiful old buildings and quieter way of life. The council planners continue to ignore what a community finds interesting and holds dear, in the vain attempt at “Making Launceston Great Again” by approving developments that attempt to emulate their idea of what a Big Important City should look like. Yawn!

    If this shop front demolition goes ahead then Launceston really will justify its status as a destination not worth visiting (as featured in comedian Tom Gleeson’s spoof travel show segment “Go Away” https://youtu.be/32eKGFeoQeo )

    Hatton & Laws was the oldest continually operated pharmacy in Australia, on this site since 1848. I’m gobsmacked that it’s not a heritage listed shop front!!!
    This facade is a stunning extant example of 1920’s/30’s architectural shop front design and I’m atruggling to think of another example in Tasmania, let alone the rest of the country!
    To have this replaced with a generic, bland and soulless replication of what already exists in most cities is an insult to Launceston.

    As much as I do actually love some contemporary architecture which really responds to the Australian climate and the context of the site within which it sits, this old girl holds a special place in many people’s hearts & Complacency is not the answer!!!
    We must look after our cultural heritage because it’s what unites us as a community and gives us our unique advantage over other locations.
    And for a jewellery shop I would have thought the existing curved windows and stained glass and tiled design would have been a visual drawcard.
    Another example of lack of cultural respect and selfishness by a franchised retailer over what the local community holds dear.
    It breaks my heart.

    Delivered to local councillor Albert van Zetten. They are yet to respond.

  15. Paul Osborne wrote to local councillor Rob Soward

    It would be an extremely short-sighted decision to allow this shop-front to be destroyed. The reason that companies such as Michael Hill Jewellers are coming to Launceston, is to take advantage of the upturn in the economy. The main reason for the upturn in the economy is the increased amount of tourism in recent years, and the financial benefits that brings. By allowing Launceston's built heritage to be destroyed, you are removing one of the main reasons that tourists come here.
    Launceston's heritage buildings are an asset that the current Council has been bequeathed to conserve and protect. It would be short-changing future generations if it allows this heritage to be "developed" at the whim of those wanting to make a quick profit.

    Delivered to local councillor Rob Soward. They are yet to respond.

  16. Angela Green wrote to local councillor Danny Gibson

    You are all so correct in what you are saying but it is best to remember that Councillors do not reply to 'personal' letters. I don't know how to make them realise that the city is losing its heritage and uniqueness, and because of this will more than likely lose tourists especially those who are trying to get away from all the cement and highrise to seek clean air and a tranquil environment. We used to be known for our parks and gardens and all the beautiful trees. These too are disappearing.

    Photo of Danny Gibson
    Danny Gibson local councillor for Launceston City Council
    replied to Angela Green

    Thank you for alerting me to this.


    Councillor Danny Gibson
    Deputy Mayor
    City of Launceston
    PO Box 396 LAUNCESTON Tasmania 7250
    M 0407 096 597 I www.launceston.tas.gov.au

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