ACT News

Red Hill residents upset by "ocean liner" building plans

Residents of a Red Hill street have united in opposition to plans to build four townhouses on a block, claiming the development would undermine the area's character and neighbours' privacy.

The 28 objections to plans for the double-storey construction in Borrowdale Street – a short road with only 19 properties – included fears school children would be endangered by extra traffic. 

: From left, Maurice Deveze, David Templeman and Stephen Gaffey, with his son, Jim, are unhappy with  a development ...
: From left, Maurice Deveze, David Templeman and Stephen Gaffey, with his son, Jim, are unhappy with a development application for consent to replace a four-bedroom property with four double-storey townhouses. Photo: Jay Cronan

With a decision from the ACT Planning and Land Authority now due, the chairman of the street's residents' association, David Templeman, said the 15-bedroom development would be an eyesore.

"[The owner] could probably do reasonably well out of two properties, sell relatively quickly, with reasonable garden areas and all those sort of things, without having the proposition of cramming so much into one block and making the thing look like a bloody ocean liner in the middle of the street," Mr Templeman said.

The plans to replace the four-bedroom home on the 1405-square-metre block were lodged in December and amended slightly in May.

They received the support of the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate, which rejected pedestrian safety fears connected with the lack of a footpath.

A TAMS senior manager told Mr Templeman in June development on the property – bought for $1.06 million last October – would increase traffic by less than 24 vehicles a day, or by an "insignificant" three vehicles during peak hour. 

A qualified planner engaged by the residents' association said the proposals failed to comply with required setback distances and privacy standards. The developer has disputed privacy breaches, and privacy screens are planned for the northern second-level windows.  

The developer said in its amended submission the "look" of the proposed development was representative of modern architecture. 

The application would create eight garage spaces and one visitor car space on the block in the "suburban core zone", RZ2, which allows a mix of single dwellings and low to medium-density multi-unit development, provided additions make "a positive contribution to the neighbourhood and landscape character of the area".

Project architect Hugh Gordon was contacted but declined to comment and the property owner was unable to be reached.