BTS Properties (Qld) Pty Ltd v Brisbane City Council
& Ors  QPEC 47
In a recent decision, the Planning and Environment Court has
dismissed an appeal by a developer against Brisbane City
Council's refusal of a development application for a seven
storey apartment building at Griffith Street, one of New Farm's
most desirable riverfront streets. The developer's appeal was
strongly contested by both the Council and a number of nearby
residents who had initially made submissions against the proposed
The proposed development was for a 7 storey apartment building
situated at 9 Griffith Street, New Farm, adjoining the Brisbane
River (the Proposal). Neighbouring the Proposal
was an apartment complex known as 'Solitaire Apartments'
(whose residents joined the appeal) and two, two-storey houses. In
order to take advantage of the exclusive riverfront location and
city views, the Proposal extended into the Waterway Corridor (a
protected setback distance from the Brisbane River) by 7.5m. The
Proposal also had a large plot ratio of approximately 1.7:1 (where
the Planning Scheme sought a plot ratio of closer to 1:1).
While a number of issues were litigated between the parties, the
two primary issues in the appeal were:
whether the Proposal's bulk and scale was incompatible with
buildings in the vicinity and therefore in conflict with P2 of the
Local Plan; and
whether the Proposal's intrusion into the 20m Waterway
Corridor was in conflict with P1 of the Waterway Code.
The Court dismissed the developer's appeal thereby
confirming Brisbane City Council's initial refusal of the
The Court found that the Proposal was still in conflict with P2
of the Local Plan as the plot ratio of 1.7:1 meant that the
building size and bulk of the Proposal was incompatible with the
medium density nature of the locality. The Court found that only
one other building within the vicinity had a plot ratio in excess
of 1.5:1. That building was Gemini Towers, a development from many
decades ago that had a building form that the current planning
instruments for this part of New Farm did not seek to have
replicated in contemporary developments.
The Court also found that the Proposal was in conflict with P1
of the Waterway Code. The Court made such a finding seemingly on
the basis of both the intrusion of the Proposal into the 20m
setback area from the Brisbane River and also the fact that this
intrusion included large and bulky built form.
What this decision means
This decision serves as a reminder to property developers that
building bulk and scale are fundamental issues when an assessment
manager (be it the Council or the Court) assesses a proposed
development. Bulk and scale are particularly important when the
applicable planning instruments call for an assessment about
whether a proposed development will be compatible with adjoining
buildings and other buildings in the vicinity. The decision also
gives hope to residents who hold concerns about the impacts of
nearby development which may be considered over-development.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Warranties can be risk-shifting mechanisms when the party giving the warranty is not the party at fault for the defect.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).