The site is earmarked for residential subdivision – just need to wait

21 April 2017
Stafford Hopewell, Special Counsel, Brisbane

The Planning and Environment Court delivered a decision in the case of Loncor Properties Pty Ltd v Redland City Council [2017] QPEC 5 which involved an applicant’s appeal against the Redland City Council’s refusal of the development application for reconfiguring a lot (43 residential subdivision in two stages) in respect of land situated at Wrightson Road, Thornlands.

The development site was appropriately zoned and physically suitable for the proposed development. The primary concern related to the acceptability of the proposed access arrangement (using the existing road network to the east) particularly in the context of the planned road network to the west under the Council’s planning scheme.

The proposed development was identified as being in conflict with the Council’s planning scheme in various respects. The relevant conflicts which the Court found to be substantial were that the proposed development “fails to maximise connectivity, permeability and ease of mobility” and “is inconsistent with the functional classification of the elements of the road hierarchy with which the proposal would be associated.

Whilst acknowledging that the proposed development would bring some level of community benefits, the Court accepted that the proposed access arrangement would detrimentally impact on the high standard of amenity enjoyed by existing residents to the east (Caldwell Close).

Given the level of detailed planning and the likely amenity impact of the proposed development on the residents of Caldwell Close, the Court did not consider the public benefit the proposed development exhibited was sufficient to outweigh the extent of conflict with the planning scheme.

The appeal was therefore dismissed.


Snapshot of Court’s consideration and findings

The land is included within the Kinross Road Structure Plan Overlay and is surrounded by housing development. The proposed development was intended to form an extension or completion of the existing residential estate known as the Rushwood Estate.

The Structure Plan contemplated that residential development within the structure plan area (including the proposed development) was to be serviced by a future residential collector road which would connect to Kinross Road to the west. However, Loncor proposed to convert the existing cul-de-sacs (Whitby Place to the north and Caldwell Close to the east) into a loop road for access to and from the proposed development.

The Council contended that the proposed access arrangement was not acceptable and the proposed development was premature until the access to the west was established.

In terms of the main areas of conflict with its planning scheme, the Council focused on the Kinross Road Structure Plan Overlay Code and Reconfiguration Code.

Two aspects of conflict were identified which related to the interface of the proposed development with the greenspace precinct.

First, it was found that part of the proposed new road would intrude into the greenspace precinct. However, as accepted by the Council, the intrusion was limited and for good reason. The Court therefore held that it did not warrant a refusal of the proposed development.

The second conflict arose by reason of the failure of the proposed development to make provision for an esplanade road, separating the greenspace precinct from the closest proposed lot. However, as Loncor proposed to provide a 10m wide open space buffer, the Court did not consider the level of conflict was great.

The other two aspects of conflict, which were identified to be of substantial, primarily concerned the merits of the proposed access arrangement, having regard to the planned road network to the west and the functional road classification of the Council’s adopted road hierarchy.

In particular, the Court had to consider whether the proposed access arrangement would “maximise connectivity, permeability and ease of mobility” and it was consistent with the adopted road hierarchy.

Having had the benefit of the evidence of traffic engineers called by Loncor and the Council, the Court accepted that the planned road network to the west “has a distinct overall advantage particularly in terms of trips to and from planned local and community facilities within the Structure Plan area.” As such the proposed access arrangement, whilst not severely problematic, failed to “maximise” in the context of the planning scheme which contemplated a future road connection to the west.

In relation to the consistency of the proposed access arrangement with the adopted road hierarchy, the Court gave consideration to the intended function of an “access place” and an “access street”. Relevantly, it was noted that an access place would provide “local access to property via a single cul-de-sac” and have “a maximum traffic catchment of 15 lots”.

As noted above, in order to implement the proposed access arrangement, the proposal involved a conversion of two access places (Whitby Place and Caldwell Close) to a loop road access street.

Given that the proposed arrangement would give rise to Caldwell Close giving access to 43 lots and connecting with Whitby Place, the Court found that it would become inconsistent with its functional road classification as an access place.

In addition to Whitby Place and Caldwell Close, the proposed access arrangement also involved traffic movement affecting part of Carlingford Drive. It was relevantly noted by the Court that by reference to the limited designation of Carlingford Drive as a residential collector, the Structure Plan intended to restrict its residential catchment.

The Court found that the proposed arrangement would be inconsistent with the adopted road hierarchy by giving access to an additional 43 lots to that part of Carlingford Drive designated as a residential collector.

Loncor sought to rely on several grounds which it contended to be sufficient to overcome the identified conflict. They included the proposed development represented a logical extension to existing residential development and was consistent with SEQ Regional Plans target for infill development.

The Court accepted that the land was appropriately zoned and designated for residential development and was conscious of the express recognition for development under the SEQ Regional Plan in relation to “Kinross Road and East Thornlands” local development areas.

However, the Court found that the conflict of the proposed access arrangement with the Council’s planning intent for the road network was substantial and the proposal would detrimentally affect the high standard of amenity enjoyed by existing residents in Caldwell Close.

Ultimately, the Court was not persuaded the community benefits generated by the proposed development were sufficient to outweigh the identified substantial conflict and the likely adverse amenity impact.

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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