Brisbane City Council still to decide on Boggo Road Gaol development application
A proposal for a two-storey office and retail development on the heritage-listed Boggo Road Gaol site in Dutton Park is still awaiting approval or rejection from Brisbane City Council, after the council requested another fortnight to decide.
- Boggo Road Gaol is a heritage-listed site in Dutton Park
- A development application for a shopping and retail precinct next to it is still waiting approval or rejection
- Brisbane City Council has asked for another extension of time to March 5
Sandwiched between the gaol and the CSIRO ecosciences precinct in Dutton Park, the proposed development, lodged by developers Stockwell in 2019, has met with sustained community resistance.
The state- and council-heritage-listed Gaol, built in the 1880s, sits in a key transport corridor between the Princess Alexandra and Mater Hospitals, the Dutton Park State School and the new Brisbane South State Secondary College.
It also links to the University of Queensland via the Eleanor Schonell Bridge, and backs onto the Boggo Road Cross River Rail train station, expected to serve 22,000 commuters daily by 2036.
Stockwell’s development application would place a two-storey office and retail development between the gaol and CSIRO building, replacing the 11.5 metre-wide pedestrian and cycling boulevard with a 87-space car park.
Developer Mark Stockwell said he had been working on the site for six years, initially scrapping a larger 2017 proposal and going back to the drawing-board.
He said it had taken years to find the right balance for the “complex” site, with the development earmarked before Cross River Rail or the new college began construction.
“I’ve got to make it not only work for the community, I’ve got to make it work for everyone,” he said.
Neighbouring residents concerned about the appropriateness of the proposal have lodged numerous objections to Brisbane City Council.
Community group Boggo Road Futures has suggested covering the railway tracks with precast concrete hoops, using fill from the Cross River Rail developments to cover the hoops, and converting the entire precinct into public parkland.
The group’s spokesman, and Dutton Park resident, Peter Pollard said residents were concerned the site’s historical importance would be lost.
“When you look at the development, 70 per cent of the development is car park. You’re going to pave our heritage for the sake of a parking lot,” he said.
Mr Pollard said the proposal blocked the Boggo Road Gaol’s eastern wall and turned a site that should be a “tranquil environment” into a commercial zone.
“When you … look at the gaol, you just see this monolith of yellowy-orange brick that just drives home the incarceration and the stature of this heritage-listed site,” he said.
“And this new development just covers that totally with a … building that does not belong there.
“The community really wants to be involved and with this application, there’s been no tendering process, there’s been no community consultation.”
Mr Stockwell said he had changed the development application to preserve more of the 1980s-era section of the Gaol, originally earmarked for demolition, reduced 117 ground-level car parks to 87, shifting more parking spaces underground, and widened the pedestrian and cycling links.
He said he had met with the Boggo Road Future group, and had heard their proposal for a primarily green-space site.
“I’ve reduced the number of parking spaces at grade and replaced that with … major bicycle and pedestrian links which are big and beautiful and safe.”
Mr Stockwell said he wanted to ensure parkland at the south-west corner of the site backing onto Annerley Road was further developed into an attractive, safe space for all users.
Brisbane City Council was due to make a final decision on the application on Friday, but instead asked Stockwell for another extension of time.
The deadline for the council to approve or reject the application is now March 5.
The council’s city planning committee chairwoman, Krista Adams, said the council was working with Stockwell “to ensure the best planning outcome for the area is achieved”, and residents’ concerns had been noted.
South Brisbane Greens MP Amy MacMahon questioned why state-owned land was being developed privately.
Brisbane Greens councillor Jonathan Sri, in whose ward the development sits, said the community did not support the proposal.
“The state government has now declared this a priority development area, saying it wants to plan the entire precinct holistically, so it’s foolish to drop a shopping centre and carpark right in the middle without properly considering the surrounding context and ensuring safe connections to the primary school, high school, train station, bus station and hospital,” he said.
A state government spokesperson said Stockwell’s development proposal was not affected by the priority development area declaration.
The state assessment and referral agency approved Stockwell’s application last year, meaning only the council now needs to decide whether to approve or reject the proposal.