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, Strathpine.
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:
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.
The 2006 planning scheme
The Council contended that due to the location, scale and size of the proposed sign, the sign:
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 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 noted that:
2016 Planning Scheme
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:
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 conflict.
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 reduced.
A development is capable of adversely affecting areas which are already of low visual amenity.