Proposed changes to Toowoomba city plan questioned

TOOWOOMBA residents were being warned that proposed changes to the city's Planning Scheme could result in future unit developments in Toowoomba being at least two to three storeys in height.

Toowoomba Regional Council will tomorrow vote on the proposed amendments supported at committee last week.

The amendment includes reducing the maximum site coverage of unit developments from 75% to 50%.

But as the Planning Scheme would still require a high density minimum number of units on each site, the outcome of the changes could be that developers would be forced to "go up" and build two and three storey units - instead of the single-storey units.

A development industry source, who asked to remain anonymous, was concerned the impact could be that residents faced a future of two and three-storey units being built next to them and throughout Toowoomba and Highfields.

That would also bring a "massive increase in the cost of housing to consumers", he said.

He said it concerned him that councillors argued that the changes would improve residential amenity.

"But how can two and three-storey units, as opposed to single-storey units, improve the look of Toowoomba's neighbourhoods?" he asked.

He said of even greater concern was that he had received advice that the advertising of the proposed amendment to site coverage may have been misleading.

In his opinion, there was an "incorrect reference" which implied that the proposed site coverage would only apply to "other building works" and not units.

"The proposed changes can only result in the height of future unit development within Toowoomba being at least two and three storeys," he said.

He suggested, before voting on the changes to the city's Planning Scheme, councillors should be fully informed as to the potential "significant and irreversible future impacts on Toowoomba's residential character, privacy of residents, and their standard of living".

The question he posed to ratepayers was "do we really want Toowoomba to become like inner-city Brisbane?"

"If not, then they need to quickly contact councillors to let them know that any decision to force the raising of future unit heights throughout Toowoomba to three storeys will not be tolerated," the source said.

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