Cr Basil Cameron, Goonengerry
Further to my concern about the precedents created by this development. The current design is much improved. It’s the bulk and scale that is a problem.
The ‘architectural feature’ that exceeds the limit does play a part in cooling the building, however this could have been used on a scaled down version that did not fill the building envelope so completely. The planning provision for applicants to apply to vary the height limit by up to ten percent is to ensure that site constraints such as sloping land do not unreasonably impose the limits where the nature of the site itself makes it difficult to build within the limit. This is a flat site with no such constraints and the additional height is based purely on the design. A design that is too big. In arguing the case to exceed the limit, the proponent of course used the precedent of the architectural feature locals know as Rupunzel’s Tower, which also exceeds the limit.
Height limits are not the only provision that help Byron maintain it’s subtropical feel. Another important provision is the requirement for a minimum amount of open space and landscaping. In this development, it has been reduced to an under cover area mostly landscaped in concrete with a few pot plants. The central focal point in this area is the escalators. This lack of genuine landscaping emphasises the overall bulk and scale of the design.
As the North side of the plaza is in the same ownership, it is hoped that it contains a significant amount of open space to rebalance the site overall when it is redeveloped. Unless councillors open their eyes, the real possibility is that the North side will be equally high based on the precedent of the southern approval and the entire area will be filled with large buildings and no open space. We can and need to do better if the whole of Jonson Street is not to sucumb and the Byron feel is to be saved.