Response to Brisbane City Council’s New Planning Guideline

The National Trust of Australia (Queensland) is not surprised that a large number of the Principles and steps to achieve them outlined in Brisbane’s Future Blueprint document (released today) relate to cultural heritage.

“It does not surprise me at all that so many of the 100,000 Brisbane residents who were surveyed for the guidelines identified Brisbane’s heritage as a priority. Brisbane residents have seen the rapid erosion of their character suburbs, the demolition of heritage places and their beloved history lost.” – Jane Alexander, Senior Adviser – Heritage Advocacy.

The National Trust of Australia (Queensland) applauds Brisbane’s residents for speaking out, activating their voices and working together to protect Brisbane’s heritage.
“Brisbane residents love their heritage places and the history they illustrate. They want their heritage places protected, conserved and celebrated. This has clearly come out through the Plan Your Brisbane process. We are thrilled.” – Jane Alexander, Senior Adviser – Heritage Advocacy.

The National Trust strongly supports many of the steps identified in Brisbane’s Future Blueprint document, but is cautious about others. The steps such as “preserve our city’s Queenslanders and other traditional designs” are ideal – but this will require the commitment of Brisbane City to fund and grow their Heritage Unit so that they can identify and protect the heritage.
The step of developing a Character Design Forum is commendable, but more details of how this forum will feed into the statutory planning system will be vital for it to achieve any tangible outcomes for the protection of Brisbane’s history and character.

Changes to zoning will continue to put huge pressure on the protection of heritage – although the Steps state that townhouses and apartments should not be built in areas traditionally for single homes, the fine print states “unless zoned as medium density” – the devil is always in the detail. This will require communities to closely assess Neighbourhood Plans when they undergo consultation to ensure that Character areas are not re-zoned into medium density.

Overall however, the National Trust is cautiously optimistic:

“We are a member based charity and we seek to represent the interests of our members – to see that so many Brisbane residents want their heritage protected and conserved gives us hope that we can continue to grow the power of the National Trust. In order to activate our voice, we have to have voices to activate – and our members are that voice.”