Developer's Willis St plan 'devalued' by council

A LAUNCESTON developer believes his dream to transform the Willis Street car park into Launceston's version of Federation Square in Melbourne is being hampered by a council plan for more inner-city housing.

Developer Ross Harrison said the plan also put at risk his proposed redevelopment of the adjacent gasworks site.

Mr Harrison said three years ago, he proposed a commercial complex of eight cinemas and art theatres, a bowling alley, retail space and a large car park to the council.

He said the development would link to his redevelopment of the adjacent gasworks site which he planned to contain apartments and retail spaces.

Mr Harrison claimed he had spent more than $100,000 on development proposals for the Willis Street site after being encouraged by the council to submit a development proposal.

Since then, the council has developed a strategic plan for the Willis Street precinct where a four-storey apartment building with retail and cafe tenancies on the ground floor or a townhouse development have been included for public comment.

Mr Harrison said residential proposals were "somewhat dictatorial" to the Launceston community, adding his proposal should be up for public comment along with the recommended residential proposal.

"This residential option will devalue my gasworks site and I will need to reconsider my development options," Mr Harrison said.

Launceston City Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski said the housing plan was just one suggestion for the site and that all ideas were on the table.


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