Town planner to appeal 'sinful' character home plan
A TOWN planner will appeal a unanimous Toowoomba Regional Council decision to refuse an application cutting a heritage-listed block in half, despite meeting all requirements for approval.
East Toowoomba resident Carolen Collins wanted to subdivide her Burns St block into two, effectively cutting it in half with plans to build another home on the Bruce St frontage at the rear.
The street is in the Neighbourhood Character Overlay area, and records show the existing house was built in 1910.
The application included the plan to demolish a garage at the rear of the Burns St block.
As a code assessable application, the public was not allowed to make submissions on the plan, but Cr Chris Tait, as chair of the special meeting at city hall, opened the floor to concerned neighbours.
Burns St resident Eleanor Cullen took the floor with concerns regarding parking and the aesthetic impact on the streetscape.
Of particular issue was where the likely increased number of cars would park, she said.
"Cars were not thought of, especially for these houses which were worker cottages," Mrs Cullen said.
"The only type of vehicle, type of transport, was a bike and even when they first went there, they used to wait for the siren at the foundry and go off to work.
"It was never designed for the use of cars."
Several councillors aired their concerns including Cr Joe Ramia who labelled any change to the front of the house to make way for a carpark would be sinful.
"It would be an absolute sin to butcher the front of that house," he said.
Cr Carol Taylor's motion that the application be rejected was unanimously supported.
Mrs Collins and town planner Andrew Hill said they would appeal.
"The Planning Act 2016 clearly states that where the development complies with acceptable assessment benchmarks it must be approved. Not should, not may - must," he said.
"This means my client will have to cover additional expense to take this to the Planning and Environment Court where it will be immediately overturned because it should not have been refused."
Mrs Collins said she had wanted to divide the block to put it to use.
"I want to build a small place down the back and someone else can take it over," she said.