PLANNING Minister Matthew Guy has removed interim heritage protection for Alphington North, opening the way for more development.
The removal was at the request of Darebin Council, which abandoned its four-year investigation into permanent protection in March.
The suburb will now be open to development, putting it in contrast to neighbouring South Alphington. Yarra City Council introduced heritage protection over South Alphington in 1999.
Heritage protection was proposed for North Alphington in 2008 after a council report identified the area's large number of pre- and post-war buildings as having heritage significance.
Councillor Trent McCarthy said 27 houses were demolished in 2010, which prompted Darebin council to apply for interim protection orders.
Cr McCarthy said the removal of the interim orders was "devastating".
"When council voted to abandon the heritage overlay process, they abandoned Alphington to the developers," he said. "Watch the bulldozers roll in."
The proposal deeply divided residents. Alphington Residents Alliance was established in 2011 to oppose heritage protection. They said it would burden owners with extra costs and red tape just to have simple renovations done.
Alphington North Action Group member Lucy Dal Pozzo said the suburb would be "a developers' dream".
Yarra mayor Geoff Barbour said the council would have preferred to have had "as many heritage streetscapes preserved as possible".
"However, even if entire suburbs are not covered by heritage overlays, there is still value in preserving some streets," he said.