BRISBANE’S biggest retirement and aged care project, the Tricare three-tower project at Taringa, has been knocked back by Brisbane City Council this morning.
The council refused an application for aged care at 52 Seven Oaks St after developers refused to substantially reduce the height of proposed high-rise buildings.
Residents who have waged a well-organised campaign against the proposal said they expected Tricare to take the matter to the Planning and Environment court but would not give up.
They planned to go ahead with a public rally at Perrin Park, Toowong, at 3 pm this Sunday.
All candidates for the state seat of Maiwar last week said they would attend the rally.
City Planning Chairman Julian Simmonds said Council would “comprehensively and vigorously’’ defend any court action by Tricare, and had the resources to do so.
He said Council issued the refusal after developers failed to make changes in response to Council’s concerns about the size of the development on the site.
“In August Council’s planning team clearly advised that 16 storeys were not supported by Council on this site,” Cr Simmonds said.
“Concerns about the scale, height and bulk of the buildings and their appropriateness for the local area were raised by Council officers, as well as concerns about transport, access, parking, noise, and landscaping.
“Last month the developers indicated that they would not be reducing the height of the tallest building (16 storeys), and would only make minor reductions in heights to the other two buildings.
“Without a significant reduction in the height, the development was simply not of a height or scale that is consistent with the local area.
“Council has also considered community feedback on the proposal, with 868 submissions raising concerns about traffic congestion, the height of the buildings and removal of trees.”
Cr Simmonds said that Council remained very supportive of aged care development, which was in critical shortage, however, developers still need to abide by City Plan.
“All development proposals, regardless of whether they are for residential or commercial purposes, need to demonstrate their ability to meet the requirements of City Plan,” he said.
“I thanks, all residents for taking the time to share their views on this proposal.”
A spokeswoman for the ProtectTaringa lobby group said: “We are delighted that our hard work and the support of the community has led to this decision because it clearly wasn’t supportable.
“The Council has sent a very clear message to Tricare that the application failed to resolve the community’s legitimate concerns with the height and scale of the buildings, the significant impacts to the amenity for the local residents, and the removal of protected trees.
“We expect Tricare to appeal this decision but are also very pleased the Council has committed to comprehensively defending its decision if it goes to Court.
“We will certainly keep fighting to get the best aged-care facility possible for our community but it will not be in the form of high-rise towers in Taringa.’’
LNP candidate for Maiwar, Scott Emerson, said he congratulated residents on the decision.
“Like them, I felt Tricare had shown contempt towards the community when it failed to address the legitimate concerns raised about its proposal,’’ Mr Emerson said.
“While Tricare may seek to appeal this decision, it is heartening that Cr Simmonds has vowed the BCC will vigorously defend in court its decision to reject the proposal.
“In my many meetings with Julian to raise my and other locals’ concerns about the Tricare proposal, I found he fully understood the anger, frustration and trepidation that many in the community felt about the plan.’’
Simon Dwyer, TriCare Property and Planning Manager, said: “We are disappointed with Council’s decision and remain committed to providing high-quality retirement and aged care accommodation in areas where it is most needed.
“TriCare will consider Council’s decision before deciding its next steps.’’
Council Opposition Leader, Peter Cumming congratulated residents on their successful campaign, but said the decision was “a desperate attempt to save Scott Emerson’s political skin”.
“Only this week Lord Mayor Graham Quirk (at Tuesday’s Council meeting) accused us of abandoning the elderly when we criticised this development,” Cr Cumming said.
“Days later, he’s had a complete about-face. To turn down this application in the middle of a state election smacks of political interference.”
Originally Published: www.couriermail.com.au