Redlands Draft City Plan needs rebooting

Meeting addressed by Cr Paul Bishop and local resident Stephen Sharry

Residents meeting to discuss a development application

“Do you think the current town plan process should start again?”

This question was posed by the Redland City Bulletin to all candidates before the Council elections. The responses given by key Councillors who at the time were guiding development of the new Plan were:

  • Mayor Cr Karen Williams: No. ……. Council has made no significant changes to the existing scheme except for creating greater clarity and certainty, removing conflicts within the scheme and making it simpler for the community to understand…..”
  • City Planning & Assessment Portfolio Spokesperson Cr Talty: “No, the process has not been completed, council has made no significant changes to the scheme”

These comments draw a hard line around the draft City Plan, that defies the community views and reactions to the public exhibition of the draft City Plan 2015.

How did the new Council  respond?

Here’s what the current councillors said in response to the Bulletin’s question: “Do you think the current town plan process should start again?”

Cr Bogary

Division 1

I have concerns with the current draft. Yes the plan has to be revised to restore the right direction.

Cr Talty

Division 6

No, the process has not been completed, council has made no significant changes to the scheme. Community submissions are yet to be assessed and applied. Council may go out for further consultation.

Cr Mitchell

Division 2

No. The existing process has been extensive and is ongoing.

Cr Elliott

Division 7

No. Council conducted 54 business days of consultation well above the min 30 days. 6400 submissions indicates a good public response.

Cr Golle

Division 3


Cr Huges

Division 8

The community spoke with almost 7000 submissions that they seek review/change, this indicates that residents are not happy with Draft City Plan. So yes it should start again.

Cr Hewlett

Division 4

Yes, I believe the community should be more informed through the City Plan process so they understand what they are being consulted on.

Cr Gleeson

Division 9

No, not it the short term. I feel that it would be irresponsible to commit to starting over before we identify residents concerns that were raised during the community consultation stage.

Cr Edwards

Division 5

I believe the current State mandated process of development approval is not in line with community expectations.

All Councils are held hostage to a system where many development applications are recommended for approval by planning officers,  based on the planning scheme that don’t have community support. 

Cr Bishop

Division 10

Yes. We need to review updated population projections and consider impacts of Shoreline and Toondah. Redlands should grow while enhancing our unique regional flavour.
048 CARP traffic warning 12 November 2015 comp

The Draft City Plan 2015 resulted in more than 6,400 submissions

Redlands2030 has already reported on a range of issues concerning the community in the draft City Plan 2015. We concluded the responses by the elected officials (Cr Williams, Cr Talty and Cr Beard (at the time Deputy Mayor) most involved with the development of the draft City Plan2015 were out of step with community expectations.  Their responses claimed there were no significant changes in the draft City Plan 2015 (compared to the existing scheme).  These claims are at odds with the analysis by Redlands2030.

In the new Council four councillors (Golle, Hewlett, Huges and Bishop) concluded the current town planning processes needed to start again.  A further two felt there was a need to restore community direction and address concerns of residents (Boglary and Gleeson).  Only three (Mitchell, Willliams and Talty) were emphatic there was no need to start again.

Cr Edwards response was disappointingly unclear.

There  was a massive community response to the draft City Plan with detailed objections echoed in 6,400 submissions…10 times more per capita than Gold Coast City received on a similar exercise.  It is a safe to assume that the vast majority of the submissions were not supportive of the draft scheme! In fact they probably felt “Redlands needs a much better City Plan”

A Planning test case

The original proposal for development at Dorsal Drive

The original proposal for development at Dorsal Drive

One of the more contentious development applications before Council before the election was a proposed apartment development at Dorsal Drive in Birkdale ( MCU013407)

This application was for 22 units on a site of 3,153 sqm  zoned Medium Density Residential. Three buildings were proposed including one of four storeys. The application was impact assessable under the current Redlands Planning Scheme.  The application attracted over 200 adverse submissions, a well organised community response.

Council officers recommended approval on the basis that the proposal was considered to comply with provisions of the Redlands Planning Scheme.

Councillor Paul Bishop (Division 10)  “called in” the application and at its General Meeting of 9th December 2015 Council rejected the officers’ advice and gave preliminary approval subject to conditions including reduction in the number of storeys to three.

Subsequently Cr Bishop communicated with his constituency, through Facebook that the proponents had lodged revised plans with 16 Town House Style Units in three storey buildings. It is expected the revised application, which is in keeping with the existing Planning Scheme and reasonable community expectations, will now be upgraded to a Development Permit.

Clearly this outcome was only achieved by the local community availing itself of the opportunity to lodge submissions.

Of grave concern is that the application as lodged in 2015 would likely have been approved under the Draft City Plan because the new scheme will make more use of code assessments provisions which don’t allow community input.

Officers instructed: Be more prescriptive?

Mayor Cr Williams made some general comments at the meeting of  9 December 2015 – General Meeting Audio (starting at 2.06.34) prior to Council voting on this application:

Mayor Williams:-I think most of what has been said is that performance based planning scheme is a struggle, particularly a struggle for our community to understand, the constraints which we are required under legislation to make decisions.   I’d probably like to refer to the 2006 Planning Scheme because its been mentioned and in fact in the review of the scheme which has just completed its consultation, we actually instructed our officers to add more prescription wherever possible and  I refer to some of the other comments that were made earlier in regards to sufficient parking.

Well under the scheme there is sufficient parking provided, that’s the fact, and similarly in other applications that have been approved in these chambers going back many years that have gone to Court.   The Court has decided there is sufficient parking.   The only way that you can get your community to get the results they want is to get as prescriptive as you possibly can under the legislation which is what we’ve attempted to do under the City Plan 2016 and I can probably make a particular reference to an area in Capalaba which the local councillor made representations about parking requirements. So when it comes to looking at the scheme that we have put out, the’re the sorts of improvements we tried to learn out of the mistakes, or not just the mistakes, but the legislation that continues to make it harder and harder for Councils to represent what the community might expect and its another great reminder as to what communities need to make sure they understand what is happening in their city plan prior to it being adopted which has been the case this time round.   So I think the other most important point that was raised today when Chris, the Officer, referred to the fact that you have got to be able to tie these back to your outcomes.   This scheme has a very broad intentions and you have got to use the tools available to us and the community to make sure we get those outcomes.   Certainly not black and white.”

Note: Bolding and colour added by Redlands2030 to highlight the precise words used to describe the processes and intent behind the draft City Plan 2015, and show the hiatus to the predicted outcomes if the draft plan were adopted.

Redlands Planning Scheme V draft City Plan 2015

Cr Williams’s specific assertions about the Dorsal Drive application and the general assertions of the Mayor, Cr Beard and Cr Talty that Council has made no significant changes to the existing scheme in the draft City Plan 2015 can be examined using MCU013407 as a test case.   The following is a table of assessment criteria for the relevant Codes comparing the more significant issues affecting development density and neighbourhood amenity (note the zoning will be unchanged and remain Medium Density Residential):





  Medium Density Residential (MDR)   Medium Density Residential (MDR)   Medium Density Residential (MDR)


    Apartment     Apartment     Multiple Dwelling


     Impact     Impact      CODE ONLY


     4 Storeys

11.5 metres

     3 Storeys

13 metres

     3 Storeys

13 metres


    1 dwelling unit per 143 m2 of site area     1 dwelling unit per 200m2 of site area      SILENT


      ~45%        45%      60%


      ~20% of Site Area at Ground Level       20 % of Site Area at Ground Level     15% of Site Area provided on rooftops,                                           podiums or at ground Level


    Proposed 33 parking spaces      1 space per dwelling unit plus 1 visitor space           per 4 dwelling units – Requirement – 28 parking spaces

    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 more

Requirement – 36 parking spaces


The test case results!

The results of this test case show that people can be rightly concerned about the veracity of the claims (prior to the election) that “Council has made no significant changes to the existing scheme“.  If the much touted Draft City Plan 2015 had been in effect at the time this development application was lodged, then:-

  •      it would have been code assessable without the opportunity for formal public submissions and appeal rights
  •      there would have been no numerical density controls in play in the assessment
  •      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.
  •      the minimum on site parking provision would increase from 28 to 36 spaces.

There is little doubt that under the Draft Planning Scheme this proposal, as lodged, but with an extra three parking spaces would have been ticked off by the officers and a development permit issued.  It may not have been until construction started that the local community would be aware of the development.

Even more disturbing is that under the Draft City Plan 2015, with no density controls, an increase in the maximum site density and possibly no communal space at ground level there is the potential for significantly greater dwelling density than was originally proposed in MCU 013407. Throughout the City, there are many situations where the existing zoning have been retained in Draft City Plan 2015, but the proposed City plan codes will permit significant increases in residential densities.   The devil really is in the detail. If adopted in the current form, City Plan2015 among other adverse outcomes is a significant increase in residential density in the city.

“No significant changes to the existing scheme” Really!

Any review of City Plan 2015 needs to address statements like “Council has made no significant changes to the existing scheme except for creating greater clarity & certainty, removing conflicts within the scheme and making it simpler for the community to

Redlands 2030 Community Plan

Redlands 2030 Community Plan

understand…..”  and “Council has made no significant changes to the scheme”.  These comments seem at best ill informed and the community backlash (about 1 in 20 Redlanders) should be ringing the alarm bells. For key Councillors to ignore community reactions or not understand the implications is alarming.

The successful Councillors will soon put their minds to the draft City Plan 2015.  They must ensure community angst is taken seriously, and re-calibrate their views in the face of the test case outlined above and the associated examination of City Plan205 by the major community organisations.  The Mayors commitment to a collaborative approach to the business of Council could be honed by some formal engagement with the community sector that might balance the extensive consultation with the development interests in the making of the draft City Plan2015.

Redlands2030, with other community organisations is very concerned about the adverse impacts of the City Plan 2015 on the livability, quality of life and lifestyle of the City.  These are issues the community is very concerned about.  Further, many of  the assumptions underlying the drafting of the plan have collapsed or been proven false and these issues so invalidate the plan as a response to the future needs.

The draft City Plan 2015 needs serious surgery.  It is hoped that Council will recognise the problems inherent in the draft scheme and either start again or consult on a mechanism to develop a plan reflective of community values and aspirations (and the Community Plan 2030).


Redlands2030 – 1 May 2016

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

10 thoughts on “Redlands Draft City Plan needs rebooting

  1. Seems some old chestnuts keep surfacing…a bigger rate base mean more money for Councils. Wrong…more people need more services…and frequently new areas need services faster (to catch up) than older areas but too often it is a zero sum game at best.

    Urban development pays its way…well no actually each new lot probably costs local and State Governments (after contributions) about $70K .

    Full cost impacts of congestion, commuting time, pollutants, loss of lifestyle, quality of life and so on are NOT costed or held against greenfield urban development. The costs are shared with existing residents (ratepayers) or taxpayers because (in part) of a policy setting of the State government to cap infrastructure charges. …most people don’t even realise it and certainly are not told about it.

    If the “subsidy” were examined it might be that making (subsidised) cars was probably a better investment (nationally).

  2. I thought this post was displaying the lack of credibility of those who argued the draft plan was no different from the old scheme. Clearly those saying that were either misled or are misleading. The Dorsal drive example showed the outcome and process embedded in the draft City Plan, the details are probably there for all to see…if you can stand to read the small print and wade through the convoluted cross over writing style of this (and probably many so called planning schemes).

    One tenant of the draft scheme was the preparation of parks for sale…that fell over under the weight of community opinion. We have done it once and need to keep at it.

    The new city Plan needs to meet the needs of current residents first and foremost. Small lots, congestion, loss of decent vegetation, high rise etc etc

    How does it embed Toondah and Shoreline which we NOT part of the existing draft…these areas can’t be just “stuck back” in to a planning scheme…surely?

    It is to be hoped the new Councillors take time to think through the new Scheme…it seems obvious few of the previous lot even read the draft scheme given they subscribed to the mantra of “no significant change”

    The comment suggesting that unviable farming land might be a good motor vehicle precinct might have merit, but we have a slightly used complex near Ipswich already and the existing sugar mill is there now and the biggest its biggest threat to it seems to be through-put i.e. volume.

    I think this business it is not all that simple, wish it was.

    • And don’t forget Weinam Creek PDA where apartment development will really add to traffic congestion on the Beenleigh – Redland Bay Road – Cleveland, not to mention exacerbate parking at Weinam area (not solve it)

  3. Again Redlands 2030 is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Can you point to examples where locals do want development and council is holding it up and it is clearly in the interests of the community for such a development to go ahead. In our neighbouring shire unviable farming land was proposed for a motor vehicle precinct. To me this makes sense. we need to max the value of unproductive land caused by the passage of time. I believe we have a number of such areas in our region and we ought to have development for the benefit of everyone.

    • In the neighbouring Logan City Council, they have embarked on a program of encouraging food growers and producers in their semi-rural areas by small business support and sponsorship at regional expo’s and the like. Land values should not be the only consideration of our economy to the detriment of our agricultural history when other areas around Australia are creating new opportunities in market gardens and local food systems to feed us.

      • Agree with Dave’s comment, land values ought not to be the only consideration. What is referred to is the changing face of agriculture; as a consequence farmers are unable to get prices for their produce to maintain a profitable business. The cane farmers now have to grow much more cane to remain viable. A family could comfortably live of 400 macadamia trees in a 1977 when macas were $7.50 a kg. With rising costs over the past 40 years 4000 trees are required (which take 7 years to start to produce) and the price in 2016 is only $5.00 kg. These farms therefore need to move out of the city area for the benefit of all.

      • No argument there Marc and while larger farm areas are overtaken by subdivision in the Redlands, this urban development should plan to allow for small market garden areas. E.G., every subdivision should set aside some lots (or one large lot) for individual and/or communal food growing as well as areas for park and recreation. There is a movement for Local Food Systems to be allowed to prosper through smaller growing spaces in our housing areas…urban farming. Check out at Buderim. While this is done on footpaths, it should be a local government planning requirement for new subdivisions to set aside specific “food growing areas (lots)”.

      • Dave refers to fresh market crops which clearly can be grown in certain areas and what specifically he would like to see in a subdivision (eg communal vegie gardens). These tweets surely can be considered without throwing out the plan that has been worked up and involved hundreds/thousands of man hours? The question ought to be; was this suggestion made during the period of the community consultation and rejected, in which case maybe the new council can attach an addendum? However this is a separate question to “development” of uneconomic farms in the Redlands that require positive action and leadership from Councillors for the benefit of the whole community by increasing the rate base, reintroducing green areas etc.

      • These thoughts were in submissions put forward Marc. I represent the SMBI Food Growers Group and our new special ‘character residential zoning’ in the islands under City Plan 2015 allows us to grow commercially on any of our vacant residential lots. This was a very positive change for us which was not available previously. It is a long process to educate people that setting up a Local Food System benefits all and land areas need to be set aside to do this. I agree the City Plan needs to be tweaked and I think the new elected councillors group and council officers will be more in the space of keeping some agricultural space in the Redlands for individual small business’s and communally.

      • Dave and I appear to be in agreement in principle. Surely the current council can tweet the Plan without starting all over again, or is that too simple a solution…I suggest “each development ought to be considered on the merits of the development and proponents, and cognizant of the aspirations of the immediate community affected”. But let’s move forward as a community, region and country together and stop being divisive, Marc 68 years old/young!.

Comments are closed.