Norfolk Estates Pty Ltd v Brisbane City Council &
Ors  QPEC 9
The Queensland Planning and Environment Court has recently
dismissed a developer's appeal of Brisbane City Council's
refusal of a development application for a 10 storey apartment
building at Oxlade Drive, New Farm. This is the second decision of
the Court in recent times, where a developer has unsuccessfully
appealed against a Council refusal of a Multi-Unit Dwelling
proposal in New Farm which exceeded the anticipated height, bulk
and scale controls.
The proposed development was for a 10 storey apartment building
situated at 140 and 142 Oxlade Drive New Farm, adjoining the
Brisbane River and Merthyr Park (the Proposal). The subject site
comprised two adjoining lots with a total area of 810m2 and had a
frontage of 20 metres and a depth of approximately 40 metres.
Neighbouring the Proposal were two apartment complexes, to the
west, an 11 storey building known as 'Kirribilli' (the Body
Corporate and residents were parties to the appeal) and to the
east, a four storey building known as 'Edgewater'.
The primary issues between the parties were:
Whether the Proposal's height, bulk and scale was
inconsistent with the intended character of the area and therefore
in conflict with the New Farm and Teneriffe Hill Neighbourhood
Plan Code in CityPlan 2014 (the Local
Whether the Proposal's height was inconsistent with the
community's reasonable expectations and caused unacceptable
impacts on amenity, particularly on views from the upper levels of
Whether there was an economic or community need which warranted
approving the Proposal contrary to the intent for medium rise and
medium-high density residential development within the Local
The Court dismissed the developer's appeal thereby
confirming Brisbane City Council's initial refusal of the
In support of the decision, the Court found that the Proposal
was for a high rise residential development, which
was in clear conflict with the Local Plan's purpose and overall
outcomes which intended for residential development to be
predominantly medium density in nature. To overcome this conflict
and obtain a relaxation of building height, bulk and scale controls
in the Local Plan (through s. 220.127.116.11.2(3) (m)), the developer
needed to establish a strong community or economic need, which
ultimately, it could not do.
Relevantly, His Honour also found that a fair and objective
reading of the Planning Scheme would lead the community to an
expectation that favoured development on the site up to 5 storeys
or 15 metres in height. Those community expectations would also
reasonably consider that a higher building could be developed in
circumstances where a community and economic need was demonstrated,
and the building was designed to appropriately respond to the
characteristics of the adjoining building.
What this decision means
This decision gives some comfort to the residents of New Farm
and gives guidance to developers that height controls for
Multi-Unit Dwellings cannot be ignored.
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.
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