'Atrocious': Controversial Ipswich development rejected

A CONTROVERSIAL development application to replace hectares of bushland with hundreds of houses has been labelled "atrocious" and rejected by the council.

Protesters descended on Ipswich City Council this week to express their outrage over plans to clear 34 ha of bushland off Eugene St, at Bellbird Park.

Developer CB Developments Pty Ltd applied to build more than 300 homes on a steep hill near Woogaroo Creek.

But the plans did not meet requirements for the council's planning scheme.

Late yesterday, council officers issued a decision notice saying the application had been rejected, along with a long list of reasons.

Those reasons included that the development did not conserve essential wildlife corridors, did not minimise risks and nuisance, did not represent good urban design and ecological sustainability, did not address appropriate access to transport facilities and overall, had not been designed to protect the environment from serious harm.

Among the more significant reasons listed by council officers was that the development did not adequately address the risk of landslides or flooding.

"The development application has not adequately demonstrated that the development does not adversely affect downstream, upstream or adjacent properties with respect to stormwater and flooding," the decision notice published late Tuesday.

"To this end, the development application proposes further intensification of residential uses within flood affected areas on land situated below the adopted flood regulation line through the creation of additional lots which is inconsistent with the Planning Scheme."

Other than the environmental concerns raised by residents on Monday, during the meeting with Mayor Andrew Antoniolli and Planning chair Cr David Morrison, potential degradation of the bushy character of the suburb was a point of contention.

 

Land clearing already undertaken in Bellbird Park to make way for new homes.
Land clearing already undertaken in Bellbird Park to make way for new homes.

 

Council officers agreed with those concerns stating; "The development application proposes the clearing of vegetation that is of scenic and amenity value and contributes to the leafy character of the surrounding environment".

The city's elected officials were upfront about the application, telling concerned residents they did not support its approval with Cr Antoniolli vowing to intervene if council officers had recommended the development be given the green light.

After the decision was handed down, Cr Antoniolli said concerns about the proposed development warranted a refusal.

"In its current form this application was always destined to be refused by council. It was atrocious, and ever since the application was lodged, I've had grave concerns about its implementation," Cr Antoniolli said.

"Lots were too small, green space wasn't properly managed, and there were concerns about the natural habitat.

"This is absolutely a win for the people of Bellbird Park. They made their feelings clear when they marched outside council this week, and when they met personally with myself and Cr David Morrison inside the council offices.

"While we appreciate that there needs to be controlled development in our city to accommodate SEQ's population growth, it is critical that we maintain our lifestyle in the process."

 

A group of residents who marched on the council on Monday to oppose a development were invited in for a meeting with Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli and Planning Chair Cr David Morrison.
A group of residents who marched on the council on Monday to oppose a development were invited in for a meeting with Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli and Planning Chair Cr David Morrison. Helen Spelitis

 

Division 2 Councillor Paul Tully said the determination to refuse the application was the "only decision which could be made". 

"Community always comes first when widespread legitimate concerns are raised about the local environment, the amenity of the area and the undesirability of jamming so many more homes into a tiny precinct."

Cr Tully repeated previous comments slamming the proposal as "the worst town planning application" he had ever seen in 39 years.  

He has called for the Singapore-based developer to donate the land back to the community, to be used as an environmental park.

Planning, Development and Environment Committee chairperson Cr David Morrison agreed with officers' move to reject the application but warned the developer could challenge the decision in the Planning and Environment Court.

"What we've done by making this decision is that we've sent a clear message to the developers," Cr Morrison said.

"Not everyone will agree with all our decisions. But we have to believe we are doing the right thing for the city, and this is a clear example of that."