New ending in tale of West End’s 12 storeys

The red shaded area represents the area of West End where 12-storey buildings will now be allowed.The Newman government has cleared the way for 12-storey buildings in the part of West End opposite Toowong by ticking off on changes to the local plan.
Nanjing Night Net

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney yesterday confirmed he had approved the reinstatement of parts of a Brisbane City Council plan that had been blocked by the former Bligh government, saying he felt the state should respect the wishes of local councils.

The previous government had refused to allow 12-storey buildings in the part of West End between Montague Road and the Brisbane River south of Davies Park, forcing the council to change its South Brisbane Riverside Neighbourhood Plan to allow no more than seven storeys in the precinct.

In an August 13 letter to Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, Mr Seeney backed the council’s push to reinstate a maximum height of 12 storeys on sites of a hectare or more in the “Riverside South Precinct”.

He said he had classed the amendment as “minor” because it had “involved adequate consultation with the public and the state” – pointing to feedback processes that occurred in 2009 and 2010.

This means the revised plan can proceed to the final stages without another round of consultation.

Mr Seeney told brisbanetimes南京夜网.au yesterday his decision was part of the LNP’s pledge to give local councils greater control.

“What I did was to approve the city council’s neighbourhood plan and that’s in keeping with our approach that local government should be empowered,” the LNP planning minister said.

Cr Quirk said the area where 12-storey buildings would now be allowed was “an old industrial section of the suburb” between the Brisbane River, Montague Road, Forbes Street and Vulture Street.

The Lord Mayor argued the former Labor government had blocked the LNP council’s plans for political reasons and welcomed the reinstatement as “common sense”.

“I’m about planning for Brisbane’s future and this old industrial part of South Brisbane is the right place for higher-density residential living given its close proximity to the CBD, public transport and essential services,” Cr Quirk said in a statement last night.

West End Labor councillor Helen Abrahams last night described the decision as “against the wishes” of the local community.

“It is underhand; it is sneaky,” Cr Abrahams said.

“Campbell Newman knows the community will object to the building heights and to the increasing density.

“He has not consulted and he did not want to. All he is doing is delivering to the development industry what they asked for.”

Cr Quirk said the plan ensured proposed developments must have a site area of at least one hectare, or about 38 full-sized tennis courts, before they could build to 12 storeys.

Cr Quirk said only a handful of current sites in South Brisbane were big enough to qualify for these heights.

Premier Campbell Newman, a former lord mayor who worked alongside Cr Quirk before quitting to pursue state politics last year, flagged the looming changes in May.

Brisbane City Council is now expected to amend the neighbourhood plan and bring it to a full meeting of council for final approval in the next few months.

Mr Seeney said he would also allow the School of Distance Education site on the corner of Montague and Ferry roads to be classified for medium-density residential or a multi-purpose centre.

Cr Abrahams called for the site to become a community hub to cater for the extra residents that would be added to the section of West End.

“They should at least try to address some of the adverse consequences of the too-many people into too-small an area, without community facilities,” Cr Abrahams said.

“That would be what good planning would do.”

Mr Seeney said he respected Brisbane City Council’s role and capability and it was up to the council to defend its own plan.

“In terms of the benefits or otherwise of the plan I think it’s up to them to talk about that,” he said.

Mr Seeney signalled the state government would take a less interventionist role regarding council planning, saying he would find it very difficult to foresee a situation where he would disagree with Cr Quirk about such issues.

– with Tony Moore

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Posted by at 18/05/2018
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