Fernbourne Road development application

Public consultation about a development application in Fernbourne Road Wellington Point closes soon

Public consultation about a development application in Fernbourne Road Wellington Point closes soon

The leafy streets and relaxed lifestyle of Wellington Point is under threat, according to a growing number of angry and concerned locals.  They are concerned about an application to build a 5 storey complex of 41 apartments at 7-11 Fernbourne Road in Wellington Point.

Using the magic of Queensland’s performance based planning system and the “open for business mantra” of the Redland City Council the proposal would create a five storey complex of 41 units.  That’s one dwelling for every 102 sqm of land.  This equates to a residential density of about 97 units per hectare and compares poorly with a 3 storeys and 50 units per hectare envisaged in the current Redland Planning Scheme.  It looks like a fore taste of higher density under the draft City Plan 2015…Density by stealth.

Details of the application (MCU013782) are available on Councils PD Online webpage and submissions close 14 December 2016.

A wink and a nod…

From the tenor of Council’s Information Request about this application (which appears not to make any reference to the number of storeys or dwelling density), it is reasonable to presume that the Council’s officers offered tacit support to the proposed development, in line with the “open for business mantra”. They avoided asking how the application is deemed to satisfy the Overall Outcome of “respecting existing streetscapes in established areas”.  

The yield being sought is double the the maximum dwelling density is set by Probable Solution P2.4 of the Medium Density Residential Zone Code (which sets a density of 1 dwelling unit per 200m2 of site area).

Having eked out a 1oo% increase in yield the proposal intends a total of 689m2 or 16.3% as communal open space.  This is assessed as not quite achieved the requirement of providing 20% (843.8m2) of the site area as communal open space.  The proponent then asserts the open space is more than sufficient to meet the needs of future residents and provide for passive and active recreation opportunities.  The correlation between a doubling of the yield and sustaining 20% communal open space means open space on a per dwelling basis is halved!

While touting the provision of 69 car parking spaces (including 10 visitor spaces) as being well over the required 52 spaces, it is hard to accept the parking provided will cater for the parking needs of the intended resident population….no matter what the code asserts.  Train commuting will provide some relief but a high percentage of new residents in Fernbourne Road will likely not be train commuters.  The result will be vehicles, trailers, caravans being parked in the now very quiet streets, the development will freeload on the existing residents.

Make submissions count!

The application for 41 units in Fernbourne Road has stirred up a local “hornet’s nest”.  Given the DA is impact assessable, there is at least the opportunity to formally lodge a submission. The response by the local community and their assessment of adverse impacts and those people more broadly concerned about higher density and smaller lots causing a depreciated lifestyle and livability might help determine the final size and scale of the development.  perhaps it will come down to the size and activity of the “hornets nest” as to effect any change (if any) can be achieved.  The locals might take a leaf from the local residents who gathered together to make submissions on the Dorsal Drive, Birkdale & Alma Street DA’s ie:

Dorsal Drive, Birkdale (MCU013407)- Application : 70 dwellings/ ha; approved 51 dwellings/ ha

Fernbourne Road, Wellington Point (MCU013782) – Application: 97 dwellings/ ha

Peel St, Redland Bay (MCU013482)  – Application: 208 dwellings/ ha

Current Redland planning Scheme – probable solution  – 50 dwellings/ ha

Redlands Land Supply Study – 40 dwellings/ha average.


The question might reasonably be asked as to how the Fernbourne Road proposal might be considered under Draft City Plan 2015 as placed on public display.

The following table compares the assessment criteria for the relevant Codes (and the more significant issues) affecting development density and neighbourhood amenity:-

Comparison of Assessment Criteria (Under 2 Planning SchemesSCHEMES) 







Medium Density Residential (MDR)

Medium Density Residential (MDR)

Medium Density Residential (MDR)


(41 units on a 4218 sq m site)


Multiple Dwelling (Under the standard use definitionsin the State Planning
Provisions Apartments areincluded in the Multiple Dwelling Use)



Impact (triggered by the proposed Apartment Use)

Potentially CODE ONLY (Impact Assessment would be triggered 
only if the height exceeded 13m; with some modification the subject proposal may fall below 13m in height)


5 Storeys
13 to 14 metres

3 Storeys 13 metres

3 Storeys 13 metres


1 dwelling unit per 103 m2 of site area

(97 units per ha)

1 dwelling unit per 200m2 of site area

(50 units per ha)



44.68% (claimed by applicant)




16.3% of Site Area @
Ground Level (Claimed by  Applicant)

20 % of Site Area at Ground Level

DECREASED to 15% of Site Area – provided on rooftops, podiums or at ground level


59 Proposed

1 space per dwelling unit plus 1 visitor space per 4 dwelling units – Requirement – 52 Parks

1 visitor space per 10 units; plus 1 space per 1 bedroom unit; or 1.5 spaces per 2 bedroom unit; or 2 spaces per unit with 3 bedrooms or moreRequirement for this proposal – 77 Parking spaces

In summary, if Draft City Plan 2015 had been in effect at the time this development application was lodged:-

–   It most likely (with some modification) would have been code assessable only ie without the opportunity for formal public submissions and public appeal rights.

–   There would have been no numerical density controls in play in the assessment . ie 1 dwelling unit/ 200 sq m of site area or 50 dwellings per ha.
–   The maximum site cover requirement would be increased from 45% to 60%
–    The minimum communal open space requirement would be decreased from 20% of the site area at ground level to 15% which could be provided on rooftops, podiums or at ground level.
–   On the positive side, the minimum on site parking provision would increase from 52 to 77 spaces.

What of the promises and undertakings about the draft City Plan?

It is disturbing that under the Draft City Plan 2015, with no density controls, an increase in the maximum site density and the possibility of no communal space at ground level there is the potential for significantly greater dwelling density than originally proposed by this particular application.

Throughout the City, there are many situations where the existing Zoning has been retained in Draft City Plan 2015, but the proposed new codes will permit significant increases in residential densities. The devil really is in the detail and if adopted in its current form City Plan will result in increased residential densities by stealth.

The proposed new Codes are less prescriptive than the existing Redland Planning Scheme and significantly less prescriptive than contemporary planning schemes recently adopted by other SEQ Councils.

The assertions and insinuations by Mayor Williams and the other Councillors in 2015 were that:-

– Council has made no significant changes to the (existing) scheme
– The proposed new Scheme is as prescriptive as possible under State legislation

     – The proposed new scheme will create greater clarity & certainty
These assertions seems at best misleading, but may well be disingenuous.

Make a submission about the Fernbourne Road development application

Given submissions on MCU013782 close 14 December 2016, time is running short.
Those making submissions might add to their specific concerns about the application, a broader concern about the density that could emerge from the draft City Plan 2015.  Overall, if Council intends to increase development densities within existing Zones by changing the Zone Codes, the voice of the broader Redland’s community needs to be heard and taken into account.
Recent assurances by seven Councillors did not go far enough but combined with the pre- election commitments there is some hope the draft City Plan will be shown to the community before being sent the the State for its approval.  The call to re-advertise the revised (draft) City Plan, that looks the least worst option.

Redlands2030 – 5 December 2016

Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email thereporter@redlands2030.net

2 thoughts on “Fernbourne Road development application

  1. Here we go again!! Christmas is coming so there has to be a proposed development that will upset the locals!
    It happens every year I’m sure!
    And this one is a doozy, and it’s in a special area, Fernbourne Road. Wellington Point.
    41 Units in an apartment building which is planned to be 5 storeys. It is essentially double the Medium Density criteria for The Redlands, being one dwelling unit per 103 square metres instead of what should be at least one dwelling unit per 200 square metres.
    Not only is this a proposal of tiny units, it is only 40 metres from the blind bend leading down to retirement village and then on to the quite large housing development on what used to be Stariha’s turf farm.
    I dread to think of what impact the traffic from this proposal will have….
    I cannot write any more…………………..
    I can only hope the officers and the councillors take another look at what they are proposing.
    A Happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year to the Mayor, her councillors, and her officers.
    I imagine there won’t be many people in this area celebrating this Joyous Season if the Council
    doesn’t come to its senses.

  2. Big thanks from all the Fernbourne Roaders to all you guys (R2030) for all your great input into the 41 unit development. The examination of the draft City Plan provisiosn show this is thea his edge of the wedge.
    It’s right on my doorstep and reactions around the streets are cranking up.
    A leaflet drop and doorknock is happening tomorrow and a post and some social media happening on Wednesday
    But there’s only a week to go!
    A bit of a litmus test this one. If it goes through unchanged it’ll set one hell of a precedent – 5 storeys and 41 units where 3 modern lowsets once were and double the density

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