Multi-storey proposal amended

Local residents Faye Dhue, Paul Druitt and Mike and Chrissy Kneebone at the site of the proposed retirement complex.
Local residents Faye Dhue, Paul Druitt and Mike and Chrissy Kneebone at the site of the proposed retirement complex.

The original plan for a multi-storey retirement complex near Holy Rosary Church had attracted widespread protest, with more than 1000 residents signing a petition to reduce its height and scale.

The plan had proposed five storeys (four levels of units and one level of parking) in the middle of the complex, facing Angelico Street, with residents complaining this would be out of place in a street of mostly single-storey homes.

At its Planning and Development committee meeting on April 16, the council agreed to add three amendments ” a setback of 6m from the street’s edge, a restriction of overall height to 12m (or four storeys above natural ground), with an outside rim of buildings no more than 7m (or two storeys), and an independent assessment of the potential impact on trees.

Mike Kneebone, spokesman for the Woodlands’ Action Group, which organised the petition, said he was pleased to see the city responding to residents’ concerns.

‘The point we wanted to make was that no one disagrees that this is a good development or use of the area, but don’t put a 20-metre high high-rise in the middle of it,’ he said.

Two members of the group spoke at the meeting, with Rod Dawkins expressing concern about how the amenity of the area would be affected by the building, and Margaret Delane speaking of potential traffic problems on the already-busy street.

This followed comments in favour of the development, from project manager David Barnao.

Councillor Stephanie Proud, who put forward the amendments, said she thought the reduced height would mean the building was in line with others in the area.

‘Initially, they were talking about five storeys, which would be 20m, and that wasn’t acceptable to residents,’ she said.

Mr Barnao, said he believed the concerns came from a vocal minority in the community, and that the initial proposal was acceptable.

The proposal will now be decided by the full council tonight.