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The public hearing for The Parade and Kent Town Strategic Growth Development Amendment Plan (the "uplift" DPA) was attended by about 50 people on 27th March. Developers and their representatives argued for higher multi-storey flats and residents generally pressed for lower multi-storey flats. One resident said that the only place the government had had the "ticker" to show what these multi-storey flats would look like was on Port Road. In its written submission, Coles at Norwood stated that it does not want to build 8-storey apartments on top of its supermarket as underground creeks would create problems with the foundations. (However we understand that Coles is working on a development application to build shops on the carpark fronting Edward Street with an underground carpark to replace the existing one. The battle to save trees in this carpark was fought several years ago and now it seems sadly that they all face the axe.)
The Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources, in its submission to Council's "uplift" DPA, said that the Adelaide Parklands and Botanic Gardens are National Heritage places and views of the Adelaide Hills from these places should not be interfered with by 10-storey flats on Dequetteville Terrace. It will be interesting to see what council planners make of this. Perhaps bigger gaps between 10-storey flats? Our Association supported the position of the Norwood Residents Association and argued that no building in Kent Town should be above 5storeys. We stated that we were opposed to the Adelaide Parklands being walled in by 10-storey blocks of flats.
We submitted that the scale of "uplift" in Norwood and Kent Town should be modest. Council's membership of the League of Historical Cities underpins its commitment to maintain historical character in our Council area. We said that this historical character could best be protected by supporting low-rise residential infill of a maximum of 4-5 storeys. While the DPA posted a maximum height of 7 storeys for buildings on or near the Parade, our Association submitted that this limit should be a maximum of 3-4 storeys on the grounds that this would be a more human-scale form of development and more in keeping with The Parade's historic village character.
We raised our concerns that a 10-storey residential apartment block on the Banner Hardware site on the corner of Magill and Fullarton Roads would present major negative impacts on residents living in adjacent small cottages in Edmund Street and Chapel Street Norwood in terms of bulk, scale, overshadowing, overlooking and traffic increases.
We drew attention to the major health hazards posed by housing people on major arterial roads and pointed out that even the Property Council had expressed reservations about the interest developers may show in building apartments on North Terrace Kent Town in view of the heavy vehicle flows on this road.
We supported the Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources recommendation that Council strengthen its policies on landscaping and urban biodiversity by embedding "Green Infrastructure' principles in this DPA. Landscaping ie "green infrastructure" is, said the Department, "especially important for higher density development".
We strongly opposed the Property Council's push to have any development application over $5 million or over 2-storeys referred to the Development Assessment Commission for assessment on the grounds that this would remove more power from local communities. It is worrying that Planning Minister John Rau has spoken of referring this suggestion to the current review of the Development Act.
We found it interesting in reading the written submissions to this DPA that developers are not all that interested in putting residential development above their commercial premises. Sometimes they just want to build a commercial building. And they seemed decidedly unenthusiastic about "affordable housing" which the State government is imposing on local councils.
The Property Council, in its written submission, downplayed the scale of the changes being imposed on the inner suburbs. It argued that developers want certainty and they don't want inconsistent rules as they move their capital from one inner suburban area to another. There should be consistency, said the Property Council, among the inner suburban councils on heights allowed and other provisions in Development Plans. Residents need to remember this when lobbying councillors and politicians otherwise the development lobby may win the day as it continues to lobby Planning Minister John Rau and the Liberal Party's new leader Stephen Marshall and the new shadow spokeswoman on planning Vicky Chapman. Our Association is in contact with several residents' associations but we do not know what is happening around the parklands in the inner western suburbs and close to the Linear Park in the western suburbs. We would welcome any information which residents may be able to supply to us about these issues. Residents in other parts of Adelaide are concerned about these planning changes too.