The Woden Valley Community Council has welcomed the planning authority’s decision to reject Geocon’s bid to increase the height of one of the buildings in its massive four-building WOVA development proposed for the former Tradies site in Phillip.
The planning authority last year approved with conditions an amended and scaled back development in which a 24-storey marker building planned for Melrose Drive was replaced with a 12-storey block after community opposition and concerns the original building would overshadow the Bellerive Retirement Village opposite.
But Geocon subsequently lodged a Reconsideration application so it could increase the height of the Melrose Drive building to 16 storeys. It also challenged other conditions of the approval dealing with the bulk and scale of Building 4; setbacks for Building 1 and 2 on Furzer Street setbacks; Building 1’s facade; Icon Water requirements; and the timing of the Stratum subdivision.
The application attracted 58 representations with concerns ranging from overshadowing and overlooking, design and traffic to issues with consultation and process.
The planning authority found no grounds to support a change in the conditions of approval.
Icon Water said Geocon’s Reconsideration application failed to comply.
WVCC president Fiona Carrick said better access to morning sun would provide greater wellbeing for the residents of the Bellerive Retirement Village but noted that the development was still extremely high density.
She said 492 of the 800 apartments would be one bedroom and about 50 square metres in size, and only 3 per cent of the apartments would be three-bedroom, making the project less attractive to families.
“While the WVCC welcomes development in the Woden Town Centre we want it to be done well,” Ms Carrick said. “Unfortunately the Territory Plan does not impose restrictions on the number of apartments that can be built so it is the Government’s responsibility to retain the liveability of our Town Centres and ensure that sites are not overdeveloped with large numbers of small apartments and there are green open spaces and community facilities for the district.”
She said the council would continue to argue for a precinct plan that identified open spaces and land for community facilities in the Woden Town Centre.
“Great public spaces, including green areas should be determined first, then social infrastructure and then housing, including affordable, to meet our various needs. Confidence in a plan for Woden would guide public and private sector investment into the future and provide certainty to the community and developers,” she said.
“The planning for the Woden Town Centre provides for densification by zoning for back to back high rise residential towers without planning for social infrastructure. We thank the Government for committing to a Community Centre to accommodate Woden Community Service, however to ensure our Town Centre has great outcomes we need to look at the land use and identify sites for a CIT, a multi-purpose sports hall and a new aquatic centre.”
Geocon has 28 days from the date of the decision to lodge an appeal in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.