ACT News

Lawyers savage Labor Club's $22 million Braddon apartment plan

The Canberra Labor Club Group has relodged its plans for a $22 million Braddon apartment complex after severe criticism from an adjoining neighbour - the representative body for Australian lawyers. 

The Law Council of Australia submission, written by chief executive Michael Brett Young, said the original development application would create a building too high for the area and wrongly focused solely on residential accommodation, overshadowing its two-storey Torrens Street offices.

"The proposed development does not meet, and is in most respects completely alien to the stated objectives for developments in the [relevant] Braddon precinct in the National Capital Plan and the Territory Plan," it said. 

Mr Brett Young said the original documentation for the proposed development contained a number of errors and provided a "gloss" to the proposal which it did not have. He said the complex would significantly overshadow the council's property on the winter solstice, and criticised the reliance by the developers on outdated traffic data from three years ago. 

Traffic concerns were also raised by the three other submissions, as North Canberra Community Council chairman Mike Hettinger​ rejected claims the 60 planned on-site car spaces - up from 23 spaces now - would be adequate for the 43-unit complex. 

"We guarantee this will result in illegal parking (particularly after hours) and damages to verges and nature strips," Mr Hettinger said in a submission.

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He said the complex, on the corner of Elouera Street, should comply with the residential code and provide a total 75 spaces. 

The Labor Club Group provided a new planning report with this month's renotified applicaiton to address what it acknowledged were a number of "inconsistencies and inaccuracies" and to provide extra information, but made no substantive changes to the September plans for a five-storey, entirely residential complex.

It referred to residential buildings of three to six storeys located north of the site along Torrens Street and along Lonsdale Street, while acknowledging it was the "first step in the next wave of future redevelopment on Torrens Street between Elouera and Cooyong Streets", which is lined with two-storey offices. 

The club said the development meant the northern facade of the Law Council building would not receive sunlight during the middle of the day three months of the year, but this was permitted by the Braddon Precinct Code. Traffic volume would not be substantially increased, it said, and the parking spaces far exceeded planning code requirements. 

The project, which includes the demolition of the existing two-storey office building, would cost $10.9 million and property industry experts have tipped the units to sell for about $22 million combined.

The site is in a CZ2 Business zone, which has objectives including providing a "diverse range of accommodation sizes and locations for offices". 

Public submissions on the renotified application close on February 1. 

The club group's articles of association require any profits to be paid to the Labor Party's ACT branch.

There was no comment from Canberra Labor Club Ltd chief executive Arthur Roufagalis​ this week, and no response from Mr Brett Young.

The law council is the peak national representative body for about 60,000 lawyers. 

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