Local Community Is Split Over Proposed Wooloowin Street Development

A development application that seeks to build a 2-storey duplex at the rear of ‘Canaipa,’ a cottage originally built in 1902 on Wooloowin Street, has drawn mixed reactions from the local community.

The subject site is situated at 42-44 Wooloowin Avenue and contains a pre-1947 detached dwelling. The Queenslander is undergoing renovation which owner Lynn Couchman said in her submission last 11 October 2022 is already nearing completion. 

Several members of the community have expressed opposition to the proposal, however, including the “Save Our Backyards” group which cited that the “44 Wooloowin Avenue” development proposal as an example of bad development.

“If this development is approved, it will set a precedent for any backyard that is close to a train, bus or shopping centre. Slowly all of our suburbs will be filled with hot, soulless, cement boxes. 

This development will overshadow surrounding neighbours, destroy privacy, create flooding issues, create parking issues and reflect heat to all adjoining properties.” – Save Our Backyards

Wooloowin Street Development
Artist impression, proposed development on Wooloowin Street – Photo credit:  Brisbane City Council / developmenti.brisbane.qld.gov.au

“There appears to be a lot of misinformation regarding this development, which is unfortunate,” Ms Couchman wrote in her submission.

Ground floor plan Wooloowin Street Development
Ground floor plan, proposed development on Wooloowin Street – Photo credit:  Brisbane City Council / developmenti.brisbane.qld.gov.au

She added that there were many other options that she could have chosen, but she chose to preserve the cottage including the original fireplace and to build a duplex at the rear.

“All that I ask is that people take the time to review all the documentation and make their own decision regarding their support or opposition.” – Ms Couchman

In late October, Council issued an information request under the Planning Act 2016. The request outlined several issues found in the proposal including building height which the Council found the proposal to be unclear as to whether the rooftop terrace includes any third-storey components.

 Level 1 floor plan Wooloowin Street Development
Level 1 floor plan – Photo credit:  Brisbane City Council / developmenti.brisbane.qld.gov.au

The developer is therefore asked to provide an “amended plans demonstrating all third storey components (including the bathroom/laundry) on the rooftop terrace are setback a minimum of 10m from all adjoining and approved dwelling houses. And to provide “amended plans which include additional sections in all directions and clearly demonstrate the natural ground line on all elevations and sections.”

Roof plan
Roof plan – Photo credit:  Brisbane City Council / developmenti.brisbane.qld.gov.au

Other issues needing a response from the developer include boundary realignment; bulk, scale and form; built-to-boundary walls; building separation; site cover; building design and traditional building character; privacy, private open space; landscaping and access, among others.

The developer is yet to submit a response.

There have been 34 submissions so far, both opposing and supporting, regarding the proposal on Wooloowin Street.

“My wife and I are very much opposed to this proposal for a number of reasons. The key concern for me is inconsistency with the “look and feel of the area” and also inconsistency with the planning scheme and other planning documents.” – Anonymous

“I purchased my property at 50 Wooloowin Ave back in 2001. I was captivated by the beautiful 100 plus year cottages in the Avenue that form part of the remarkable cultural heritage display at Wooloowin Rail Station. I am dismayed to see the DA for 42/44 Wooloowin Ave, which if approved, will herald the demise of the ever-decreasing pocket of federation homes still surviving in Wooloowin.” – A. B.

“If allowed to proceed, the reduction in value to surrounding properties may well be of a similar or greater magnitude due to loss of neighboring building and environmental character (aka the addition of bulk and gross ugliness), loss of privacy, loss of views, loss of street amenity, increases in flooding risk and increase in noise pollution. The damage to the wellbeing and impact on the daily lives of neighbours cannot be estimated.” – Anonymous

“The proposed townhouse is not appropriate for the area. It flaunts all of the prescribed setbacks. It is made out of concrete instead of wood and tin, it is too high and it is ugly and ruins the streetscape. On top of this, it doesnt have any visitor parking and the proposed stormwater solution will cause flooding of the local area.” – Anonymous

“I have read the DA and agree that the development will be an improvement to the area and so I have no objections to this application.” – Anonymous

“The application meets the BCC Planning rules and requirements for the area and helps to deliver more affordable housing to the market, which is a key aim for SE Queensland at present. I look forward to seeing these properties developed in the near future.” Anonymous

“There’s not enough housing in wooloowin. I would have loved to buy a home in wooloowin but there is just so much competition that it’s impossible. Building more homes in wooloowin is the way to go!” – Anonymous