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23 May 2010

News Article: A multi-storey apartment block is heading to a suburb near you.

This is an article in the Sunday Mail today (23rd May 2010):

QUIET, leafy corners of Brisbane and other parts of southeast Queensland could soon be overshadowed by high- rise apartment towers under a controversial planning strategy to build up instead of out.

A snapshot of the planning strategy for Brisbane to deal with massive population growth expected over the next 20 years shows high-rise development spreading to the outer suburbs, with concentrations of towers around transport nodes.

But resident groups - fearful Brisbane will be turned into Sardine City - are vowing to fight the high-rise invasion.

There have been a string of protests by residential groups lobbying against the changes in older suburbs such as Corinda through to the inner-city bohemian hub of West End, where 30-storey towers are on the drawing board.

The backlash has forced Brisbane City Council to relax some of its plans for higher density development.

But the fight is guaranteed to intensify as the rollout of high-rises intensifies.

Council figures show town planning officials have paved the way for an estimated 64,700 new residents in suburbs from Bracken Ridge on the northside to Corinda on the southside.

South Brisbane residents should prepare for a projected 25,500 extra residents by 2031.

The estimates have been devised by the council from some of the most advanced neighbourhood planning documents, with several other plans yet to be finalised.

Neighbourhood planning was introduced by Lord Mayor Campbell Newman in 2004 to give residents more say but has failed to avoid bitter disputes with residents.

One group of residents at Bridgeman Downs has labelled their growth plan a farce after development proposals were ticked off by the council, undermining the new blueprint before it could even be adopted.

"To get it all done and (for) them to just completely ignore it is a joke," Bridgeman Downs resident Earl Baskerville said.

A spokesman for the Lord Mayor said even if the plan had been adopted, property owners retained their development rights under the former town plan for up to two years.

The Bridgeman Downs group is just one of a growing number battling growth plans in their back yards.

The West End Community Association is involved in a no-holds-barred fight against high-density plans in its suburb. And in Sherwood and Corinda, the Walter Taylor South Action Group is pushing to topple plans for five-storey buildings.

Action group secretary Leigh Park said the council had done well in listening to their concerns and boosting protection to character housing in the area - a far cry from the strategy before Cr Newman.

It had also reduced the footprint of an area of Corinda planned for five-storey buildings after public opposition.

But she said in return it had increased the size of a precinct at Sherwood, proposing five-storey buildings.

Ms Park said the result would be added pressure on congested roads and public transport, while destroying the visual impact of old suburbs.

"The argument is it is only confined to a small percentage of the area, but the visual impact is quite significant," she said.

Council Neighbourhood Planning chairwoman Amanda Cooper said the fact there were protest groups objecting to the plans showed the strategy was working.

Opposition planning spokesman Milton Dick said the plans had not lived up to their expectation of listening to residents' concerns.

We all know Brisbane is expanding due to population growth. How do you feel about these changes? Should we be developing Up (high-rises) or Out (more land released)? What's your preference?

Leave a comment. We'd love to hear your opinion.

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