Planning commentators are split over Senator Zed Seselja’s suggestion to extend Tuggeranong’s urban footprint to the western side of the Murrumbidgee River.

Senator Seselja said Tuggeranong’s development had suffered since a decision before self-government not to continue developing over the river.

‘‘That has skewed the geography of the town centre - the town centre is not in the centre of the town, it’s on the western edge,’’ Senator Seselja said.

He said any move to build west of the river would need federal government approval.

Canberra architect David Flannery strongly condemned the move.

‘‘It is now widely appreciated that extending urban sprawl is an uninformed, senseless and destructive methodology for providing much needed housing,’’ Mr Flannery said.

When he was Australian Institute of Architects' ACT chapter president in 2009, Mr Flannery warned of greenfields housing in Canberra’s north progressing much faster than redevelopment occurring in the inner suburbs.

Mr Flannery said instead of developing for walking, cycling and public transport, Canberra was becoming an unsustainable city because of new suburbs every year on the city's fringe.

But architect and planning advocate Jack Kershaw said Senator Seselja was right.

‘‘Apart from the Town Centre’s location being chosen for that scenario, there's an existing wide road reserve linking the southern end of the parkway to Kambah Pool Road, and on to a planned bridge over the Murrumbidgee well upstream of the pool's recreation areas,’’ Mr Kershaw said.

A bridge west of the town centre was also planned.

 ‘‘There would be no urban sprawl effect because the expansion, with its usual group and local centres, would be relatively close to the Tuggeranong CBD. The subject land is relatively level, and the important river corridor areas would be preserved.’’

Mr Flannery said residential development on the fringe of the city, where every journey from home had to start in a car, required additional expensive infrastructure and services, and ensured the irreversible destruction of a beautiful natural environment.

‘‘Developing new suburbs out there will have zero impact on revitalising the Tuggeranong Town Centre, put more cars on the road and add to both air and river corridor pollution.

‘‘Relying, as Senator Seselja does, on the fact that Canberra’s Y-Plan (developed by the National Capital Development Commission in the 1960s) labelled this area as a possible suburban development precinct, is like medical researchers relying solely on the way we understood medicine in the 1960s for modern disease management.’’