On Friday 14 February, His Honour Judge Williamson QC made a judgement by consent of the parties following negotiations between Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) and the developer Shangri-La Pty Ltd, approving a reduced scale multiple dwelling unit development at Prince Henry Heights.
TRC Planning and Development Committee Chair Councillor Chris Tait said while this had been a long process, it was one in which Council had been able to successfully negotiate details of the development.
“In matters such as this it’s vital Council considers what’s in the best interests of the community,” Cr Tait said.
“The community was quite vocal on this development and Council listened to all of the concerns which were raised.”
On 7 March 2018, at a Special Meeting of Council, the proposed development of 40 multiple dwelling units on the escarpment was refused by Council.
The development was proposed within the Low Density Residential Zone of the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme 2012 and was subject to numerous site constraints due to its slope and position along the escarpment.
“At the time, Council was particularly concerned about bushfire, stormwater, traffic and ecological impacts,” Cr Tait said.
“The developer appealed Council’s decision to refuse the development and since that time negotiations have been ongoing between Council and the developer.
“Both parties have been assisted by court experts to investigate the issues in a finer grained detail and to resolve the issues of bushfire, environmental, geotechnical, stormwater, traffic and planning.
“While we realise not everyone in the community will be completely satisfied with the final result, we have worked hard to ensure we get the best possible outcome for our residents and community.
“Through the negotiations, Council successfully negotiated a reduction in the scale of the original proposed development from 40 three-bedroom townhouses to 32 three-bedroom townhouses.
“The negotiated changes will also significantly improve the ecological outcomes over the site and address the community concern of bushfire hazard and stormwater along the escarpment.”
In the ruling, His Honour Judge Williamson QC issued the judgement subject to 119 conditions, a number of which require the developer to adopt ongoing measures to manage bushfire fuel loads and weed propagation through regular site maintenance obligations.