Late in 2017 the TCT correctly anticipated that the Fragrance Group were moving forward with projects on Collins and Elizabeth Streets, whilst the Davey Street 210m behemoth is on hold.
Standing at 50m high the revised 2-6 Collins Street Fragrance Tower is still more than three times the permitted height in the planning scheme. The 15 metre permitted height limit in Sullivans Cove was introduced by Hobart City Council in response to wide scale protests over the Grand Chancellor building built in 1987. Ringed by heritage buildings and low density residential accommodation, this tower will dominate its surrounds. It will be more than three times the height of nearby buildings, including the heritage listed Old Woolstore and Hobart City Hall. It seems clear to us that the height and type of building would contravene the Sullivans Cove Planning Scheme by causing visual impacts, causing shading of the surrounding residential buildings and detracting from the value of nearby heritage sites.
The Elizabeth Street site is right on the edge of the CBD and at 50 metres high it would similarly be a huge protrusion among the much lower heritage listed sites. It would also be more than three times higher than the permitted height limit in this area.
Currently Hobart has no maximum height limits. But many areas have permitted heights, whereby a proposal below this height is permitted and is not required to be released for public comment. A project above the permitted height is discretionary, council must release the proposal for public comment and the decision is appealable.
The Hobart City Council has been progressively investigating new maximum height limits for Sullivans Cove and the CBD. The Tasmanian Planning Commission (TPC) will soon reach a decision on strict height limits for Hobart’s CBD. The TCT made a representation to the TPC urging it to reflect the community concern over very tall buildings and urging a conservative maximum of 45 metres in the CBD. The Hobart City Council has commissioned Leigh Woolley to investigate maximum height limits in Sullivans Cove. The Trust is eagerly awaiting the release of Mr Woolley’s report and will be asking our members, supporters and friends to comment. The Trust will continue to remain active on the issue of tall buildings, including continuing to support our friends at Hobart not Highrise.
The Trust did a survey of our membership and supporters recently and found that overwhelmingly, they thought that the current height limits in the planning scheme should remain.
The TCT believes that consistent public scrutiny of the proposals, the council and the minister is the best way to ensure that our city is not ruined by projects such as these.
The TCT will continue to fight against undemocratic new laws such as the Major Projects Legislation and proposals such as the Fragrance Towers. Over development such as this will inevitably spoil our cities and towns unless we stand up and fight to protect the very things that bring visitors here.
We need your help to continue this fight. Please consider making a tax deductible donation to the Tasmanian Conservation Trust today.
Article by Jack Redpath
Image at top: an artist impression of the proposed Elizabeth Street Fragrance Tower. Graphic by Jack Redpath