Building height debate in Tasmania needs sophisticated approach: Property Council

The property council has called for a more sophisticated approach over decisions regarding the height issue in planning applications.

State executive director Brian Wightman said the Launceston and Hobart communities needed to have and open and honest debate about building height.

“Far too often the debate is simplistic and doesn’t consider the economic and community benefits of specific clever architectural designs which showcase sympathetic solutions,” he said.

“The current applications before the Hobart City Council and those soon to be before the Launceston City Council, and the community debate which has flowed, highlights the reasons why panels, representing the state, local government and independent experts, should assess proposals of significant economic benefit.”

Mr Wightman said these development assessment panels would reduce the politics in development assessment.

The concept is one step further than the planning commission panels recommended under the proposed major projects legislation. 

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“The provision of affordable housing, public infrastructure, art works, public open spaces, and environmental sustainability as community benefits related to large scale developments should be objectively considered without the fear of political ramifications,” he said.

“The development assessment panel could also be linked to a design review panel to ensure that the highest design quality is achieved for major projects, as is done in NSW.”

Meanwhile the Launceston Chamber of Commerce is also preparing a submission on the state government’s proposed major projects legislation.

Executive officer Neil Grose said while the Chamber recognised the importance of public input into development, it was critical that investors could plan with the confidence that projects won't be bogged down in unnecessary process.

“Launceston has seen the decades-long protracted process surrounding the CH Smith development and the ongoing issue in Boland Street, and any means to eliminate this unproductive use of time and capital can only be applauded,” he said.

“With several major privately funded construction projects in the pipeline, any streamlining of the process and compliance regime is long overdue.”

Submission on the legislation close October 2.