12 Sep 2017

Residents fear high-rise aged-care development will destroy a Brisbane suburb

An aged-care provider that paid $17 million for a development site in Brisbane's south-west has been accused of trying to create an eyesore that would destroy the suburb.

According to property records, TriCare purchased the former Sullivan Nicolaides site at Seven Oaks Street, Taringa, in 2015.

It submitted a development application to the Brisbane City Council to build a residential care facility and retirement facility on the 11,830-square-metre site on June 29, 2017.

Three towers have been proposed. One would be 16 storeys and provide 98 independent living units, the second 14 storeys with 53 assisted-living units and the third would provide 255 aged-care beds in a nine-storey tower.

In TriCare's development application it said the area had medium- to high-rise buildings that co-existed comfortably within dwelling houses and low-medium density.

In a survey of building heights in the surrounding area, submitted by TriCare in its application,  the highest nearby building was an 11-storey residential building on Swann Road – which is still shorter than two of the buildings TriCare has proposed.

More than 750 residents have signed a petition opposing the development and hundreds of submissions have been made to the council against the application.

The petition said the towers were not appropriate for aged-care accommodation, did not keep in character with the housing and low-rise apartments in Taringa and would create wind tunnels and remove natural light for surrounding residents.

Concerns were also raised about the proposed development causing an increase in traffic congestion, as well as setting a precedent for more high-rise development in Taringa and leading to the loss of protected vegetation on the site. 

Resident Emma Hatchett wrote in her submission to the council that the development should not go ahead.

"My real concern is that this development is not in keeping with the character and essence that is Taringa," she said.

"The three proposed towers will do just that … they will tower over everything the people of Taringa love and will be a complete eyesore on the small tight-knit community."

A spokesman for TriCare said the proposed height was needed to meet the significant demand for retirement and aged care in the area.

"Census projections indicate the over-65 population in the development's catchment area would grow by almost 10,000 residents by 2026 and the clear evidence is that many of these people will want to stay in the neighbourhood," he said.

When asked if the hundreds of residents opposing TriCare's proposed development was of concern, the spokesman said TriCare understood immediate neighbours would be concerned.

"We are also encouraged by a significant number of calls we have taken by local residents supportive of the project," he said.

Council city planning chairman Julian Simmonds said the council had concerns about the proposed development.

"The building heights of up to 16 storeys proposed in this project are out of step with community expectations for this site and are not in keeping with the surrounding area," Cr Simmonds said.

"Although this site is zoned for healthcare purposes such as aged care, and this is a use council is encouraging to cater for our ageing population, the height is certainly not consistent with what council believes is appropriate for this site."

Cr Simmonds said he would express his concerns about the proposal to the council officers assessing the application and encouraged concerned residents to make a submission.

The TriCare spokesman said the company would be guided by the council and the planning process.

"TriCare purchased the land on the understanding that a project of this sort was allowable and in keeping with council's plans for the site," he said.


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