DEMOLITION work is already underway on iconic Melbourne gay bar The Greyhound Hotel, with an eight-storey apartment building to be erected in its place.

The 164-year-old St Kilda pub shuttered in January despite members of the LGBTI community launching a petition to save the venue with over 2500 signatures.

Last month, an independent heritage assessment recommended that the building be spared from demolition.

The report stated that “The Greyhound Hotel has been associated with St Kilda’s evolving LGBTI community for more than two decades.”

It was believed that Port Phillip Council would be able to block the demolition based on the report as heritage controls could be applied despite the existence of a building permit for demolition.

But appeals to Planning Minister Richard Wynne to save the Greyhound Hotel have failed and wreckers have already begun work on the rear of the building.

Wynne last week declined Council’s request to block demolition after working extensively with the pub’s owners.

Port Phillip Council had failed to apply for heritage protection in recent years.

Councillor Dick Gross has slammed Wynne for not preventing the Greyhound Hotel’s destruction, calling him “mendacious” and “cowardly” in a Facebook post.

“Minster Wynne has allowed the vandals to rip down the Greyhound and has done so without grace or honesty in his dealings with Port Phillip Council,” Gross wrote.

“We need the State government to develop, with some urgency, clear policy for local heritage recognition.”

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