By Natalie Rayment
The community initiated a state ministerial call-in of a development approval for the West Village Project at West End. A ministerial call-in allows the relevant Minister to decide a development application; even if the local council has already made a decision. In fact, Brisbane City Council had already approved the development and it was midway through the court appeal process when called in.
Council’s approval limited the height of future buildings on the site to 15 storeys as per the local plan requirements. This was an outcome negotiated by Council during the development assessment process in response to community concerns about building height. Originally, 25 storey building heights were included in the proposed design.
The ministerial call-in was recently approved. It allows for one of the approved buildings to have a height of 22 storeys. With many residents concerned about building height, what exactly did the ministerial call-in do?
The outcome of the call-in is that taller buildings are allowed, resulting in smaller building footprints. This creates more public accessible open space which was another key concern of residents. Another outcome is that the decision has been settled without a lengthy and expensive court appeal process. A minister’s call-in decision is final and cannot be appealed in court, unlike the original approval decision by Council.
Ultimately, the approval of the West Village project enables good development outcomes to be achieved through the creation of community dividend, the promotion of sustainability, the support of innovation and the delivery of design excellence.
Community dividend is created by the provision of more open space. The approval requires that 30% of the site be publicly accessible open space. The community will also benefit from a new childcare centre, 500m2 of dedicated community space, a knowledge space/co-working hub (seed funding or space will be provided), an artist in residence program and a suite of temporary and permanent art installations.
The community and the environment will benefit from an approval condition requiring that the development achieve a 5-green star rating. Innovation and sustainability outcomes are supported too as the development has been conditioned to provide 20 publicly accessible bicycle parking spaces, 8 electric vehicle car charging stations and 10 publicly accessible car parking spaces to be used for a future car share scheme. These parking spaces are in addition to the standard car parking rates that apply to the residential and commercial aspects of the development. The approval supports design excellence through a condition requiring subtropical building design excellence.
What happened with West Village is that good development outcomes have been achieved despite the proposal exceeding the local plan height parameters. Greater building height has been offset with expansive public open space resulting in a better outcome for the community and one that remains feasible for the developer to deliver.