Here is a letter the Mercury didn't publish

Letter to the editor
The Mercury

Rules to control skyscrapers
There has been a great deal of comment about the Fragrance Group's skyscrapers proposed for Hobart but little debate about solutions.

The latest move by the Hobart City Council is to seek advice from a local Architect Leigh Woolley about possible ways to amend the Hobart Planning Scheme to address building height and related issues. I question whether council should start its public consultation using Mr Woolley's proposed 75 metres maximum as their starting point. They should ask the community first, including whether existing buildings are too high. Secondly, why use the planning scheme to limit building heights when changing schemes is such a normal practice?

The people of Hobart (I include all those in the greater Hobart area), should have assurity that height limits cannot be increased by the first developer who seeks a change to the planning scheme.

The approach taken by the Victorian Government over the last two years provides an interesting alternative approach.

In response to a number of very high buildings being approved in the Melbourne CBD, in 2015 the Victorian Government put in place an interim planning control, a moratorium, while a more permanent policy was developed. Over the next twelve months a policy was developed through consultation with the general public, the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government Architect.

What resulted is a compromise that does not suit everyone, but it begs the question, should the Tasmanian government be involved in developing a policy or legislation regarding very high buildings in Hobart and perhaps other Tasmanian cities? Could the government be trusted to work with councils and the public to establish strict rules that cannot be changed in response to the first developer who comes along?

Peter McGlone
Tasmanian Conservation Trust