The Planning and Environment Court in
Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group
Pty Ltd v Moreton Bay Regional Council  QPEC 8 dismissed an appeal by
the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group Pty Ltd against Moreton Bay
Regional Council’s refusal of its development application for a development
permit for the installation of an advertising sign along Gympie Road,
The area in which the sign was to be
located had a poor civic amenity comprising a landscape of cars and signage,
with open and unattractive areas with few landscape features.
The proposed sign was to be a double
faced sign with the following characteristics:
- each sign face would have a face area of 86.78m2
(dimensions of 18.99m x 4.75m);
- the sign faces would meet at a point close to
the road frontage, but track away from each other to be 10.27m apart at the
- the underside of each sign face would have a
ground clearance of 9.65m;
- the overall height of each sign would be 15.22m;
- each sign face would have 6 floodlights at the
base to illuminate it at night.
The size of the proposed sign was
matched only by the size of the pylon sign for Strathpine Shopping Centre on
the opposite side of Gympie Road, which was approximately 17m wide, 21m high
and comprised of multiple panels. The proposed sign was to sit between two
existing pylon signs, each of which only reached just over 8m in height.
The application was impact assessable
however, despite its size it attracted no adverse submissions.
The Court assessed the proposed sign
against the Council’s 2006 planning scheme which was in force at the time the
application was made and the 2016 planning scheme which commenced during the
course of the appeal.
The Court found that there was
material conflict between the proposed sign and the applicable advertising
devices code under the 2006 and 2016 planning schemes which could not be
overcome or justified by any sufficient grounds.
of Court’s consideration and findings
2006 planning scheme
The Council contended that due to the
location, scale and size of the proposed sign, the sign:
- was in conflict with the purpose of the Advertising
Signs Code and Specific Outcome 2;
- an approval of the sign would make an existing
situation materially worse and adversely impact on the forward planning of the
Australian Leisure and Hospitality
Group conceded that the proposed sign did not satisfy the probable solutions
for SO2 and was inconsistent with the forward planning for the area, but
contended the following alternative probable solution to SO2:
- the sign was subservient, rather than dominant
to the character as a whole, and the immediate surrounds featured a poor visual
amenity and there were no desirable characteristics of the built and natural
environment of the immediate surround such that the signage was not required to
be subservient to anything;
- the sign would not cut across or render what was
desired for the future in the area in any material way.
The Court determined that the
proposed sign would have a significant adverse effect on the established
character and streetscape of the area, considered as a whole and be in conflict
with SO2 of the Advertising Signs Code. In making the determination, the Court
- whilst the immediate area had low visual
amenity, it could not be demonstrated that the sign would be “subservient” to
its immediate surrounds, regardless of the desirability of those immediate
- whilst acknowledging that the area was of low
visual amenity, the Court was not convinced that just because an area was of
low visual amenity, the sign could not further adversely impact on the visual
- the proposed sign would be ‘visually discordant’
with the existing signage in the area, and would not minimise visual clutter.
The Court noted that the relevant
provisions of the code for advertising devices under the 2016 planning scheme was
not dissimilar to the code under the 2006 planning scheme.
The Court determined that the
proposed sign was in conflict with the purpose of the code and Performance
Outcome 1, as the proposed sign would:
- contribute to visual clutter and be visually
dominant if not overbearing;
- not complement the existing and future planned
character and amenity of the area;
- not maintain a human scale and detract from the form
and function of a pedestrian-friendly environment; and
- not be compatible with the surrounding
streetscape and landscape.
Whilst Australian Leisure and
Hospitality Group identified grounds for an approval of the proposed sign, some
of those grounds were later abandoned and it conceded that the remaining
grounds were not sufficient to warrant approval of the sign in the event that
material conflict was found with the 2006 and 2016 planning schemes.
Given that the Court determined that
the proposed sign was in material conflict with the 2006 and 2016 planning schemes,
there were no sufficient grounds to justify an approval of the sign despite the
When assessing a development in areas
with poor visual amenity, the standard of demonstrating whether the development
adversely impacts on the visual amenity of the area will not necessarily be
A development is capable of adversely
affecting areas which are already of low visual amenity.