Draft City Plan surprises residents

City Council's new planning tool allows property owners to see planning controls at a glance

City Council’s new planning tool allows property owners to see planning controls at a glance

Residents of Rogers and Raven St West End were surprised to learn this week that their homes no longer exist, at least on the draft city plan of a future West End released his week by Brisbane City Council.

The plan replaces their homes with a new park in a reshuffle of the green space between Montague Rd and the Brisbane River, to allow developers to build more apartments. Residents expressed alarm and concern about the new plan, describing it as an “attack on their peace of mind” and “inconsistent with community values”.

Councillor Helen Abrahams has called for a rally on Saturday 22 March at the former Distance Education Site 45 Montague Road West End from 11:00 until 11:45am to discuss the impacts of the plan.

She voted against it, describing it as a plan for developers not for residents. The key objections that Ms Abrahams has raised to the plan include:

  • the replacement of parkland at Montague and Jane St with Mixed Use that may include shops, cafes and offices
  • approvals to develop in areas prone to flooding
  • a reduction in parking requirements for new developments
  • New density rules that allow blocks of 260 and 300 square metres with frontages as small as 7.5m and floor coverage of 80%.
  • an increase in the house height to 9.5m above ground level
  • a reduction of the need to advertise proposed development intentions to neighbours

She reports Lord Mayor Quirk as saying that West End does not need more parkland because of its proximity to South Bank.

Much of the proposed development is in flood prone areas

Much of the proposed development is in flood prone areas

While objections such as flooding, parking and density address the future character of West End, others are about process and the rights of existing residents.

Lord Mayor Quirk has long been touting the reduced development application processing times and the facility of the new interactive map in providing developers with information at a glance as to what regulations will affect a particular property. In July last year he told Westender that the planning approval time is intended to come down from months to days.

He also said that it will prevent residents from falsely getting their hopes up that a development is not going ahead when it is simply on hold because of bureaucratic delays. Westender was not convinced at the time that residents would be delighted by this vigorous transparency of the Council’s pro-development stance.

Developers on the other hand are enthusiastic.

Identifying 4,500 apartments that are already approved and in some stage of development Paul Hey told members of the West End Traders association on Tuesday night, “This will bring the people that you need to get the business in your doors. The people are coming, we have to be ready.”

Whether businesses will welcome the replacement of proposed parkland to new competitors or the reduction in parking requirements remains to be seen. Both parking and competition from incoming businesses are high on the list of concerns with businesses contacted by Westender.

Everyone who rolled up their sleeves and shovelled mud in January 2011 is reluctant to see more building in flood prone areas. This is a community with deep experience of the floods that it is not anxious to repeat.

The deatils of the new plan are available at http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/planning-building/planning-guidelines-and-tools/brisbanes-new-city-plan/index.htm

The draft city plan has now been submitted to the State Governent for approval and will became the new City Plan once approved. The council’s documentation makes it clear that the time for community consultation on the plan is over and implementation will follow swiftly once it is approved. All those who made submissions are directed to a Word document that details the council’s response to all submissions. This operates as an “Umpire’s word is final” and does not allow for further engagement.

Expect the cranes currently defining the sky line of West End to multiply.

One Comment

  1. Darren Godwell 13 March, 2014

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