7 first impressions of Brisbane's new City Plan


Today, Brisbane City Council released the revised Brisbane City Plan to the general public.

As developers and town planners review the implications of the new plan, leading planning and design firm

Place Design Group provide their 7 first impressions below:


Impression # 1 - We are getting there

The Revised Draft of the City Plan is much closer to a scheme which is capable of taking Brisbane and its development forward for the next 10+ years. The Lord Mayor, Councillor Amanda Cooper and the City Plan Team within Council should be congratulated for their sensible revisions to the Draft Scheme.


Impression # 2 - Council is Listening

The industry was very vocal about some of the provisions or approaches contained within the original draft scheme, particularly in relation to changes which would affect project viability and affordability. We are pleased to see that Council has taken much of this feedback onboard and small and significant changes have been made throughout the updated draft to address these industry concerns.


Impression # 3 - Carparking Demand is not the same across the entire city and shouldn't be provided this way.

Council has accepted the evidence and facts provided through detailed research (including work by PLACE Design Group commissioned by Council) and by the industry, in relation to car parking rates for multiple unit dwellings. Council has sensibly gone away from a blanket city wide parking rate, recognising that demand and usage of cars is less in the City Centre, City Frame and in proximity to public transport nodes. The revised scheme provides parking rates that are appropriate for their location and at rates that are equal or less than the City Plan 2000, which is a great outcome.

In addition, a reduction to the required visitor parking rates across the city to a rate of approximately 1 space per 7 units as opposed to 1 space per 4 units under the City Plan 2000 is a very positive step forward that will see improvements to how projects are delivered.


Impression # 4 - Front loaded community engagement is enough

Council has made a key step forward by making multiple unit dwellings code assessable in those parts of the city appropriately zoned for those uses and densification. Gone are the days of Council hedging their bets by saying units are encouraged but then still making them run the gauntlet of community objection and potential appeals. Providing the units comply with their nominated maximum building heights, developers will be able to take certainty in their projects and development rights conveyed by the actual Planning Scheme. Previous work by PLACE Design Group has illustrated that this change alone could see savings greater than $10K on the cost per unit, which is a big win for affordability.


Impression # 5 - Neighbourhood Planning is important, but not the only way for large scale brownfield or major projects to occur.

The strategic framework within the original draft of the City Plan 2014, placed significant emphasis upon Councils' established Neighbourhood Planning processes as being the only way to facilitate new planning and redevelopment around the city. Now whilst their Neighbourhood Planning process is well recognised as being best practice, many examples were put up by the industry of major projects or precincts that have redeveloped over time, without the benefit of a preceding Neighbourhood Plan.

Council has reflected this fact by acknowledging that development may be able to proceed where a comprehensive planning process has been completed which has been undertaken on a precinct approach with community consultation and consideration of the planning matters consistent with the scope of a neighbourhood plan prepared by the Council. This is a great outcome and acknowledges that developer lead development and planning is a viable alternate to Council's processes.


Impression # 6 - The KISS principle of Keeping it Simple

The updated draft of the scheme has consolidated a number of development codes that were previously quite repetitive or confusing as to which code to use where and when. This consolidation and simplification of the codes will aid in simplifying the application draft and assessment process.


Impression # 7 - Small Freehold Lots are a Viable Alternative to units or sprawl.

The Amended City Plan will facilitate new smaller freehold blocks of land to be created throughout the city. The amended plan has retreated somewhat from the original draft by now limiting those smaller blocks in low density areas to those areas within 200m of centres with a minimum area of 2000sqm, but the intention for the rest of the city is clear. That smaller freehold blocks of land with single detached houses can be delivered whilst retaining our suburban and subtropical character, and facilitating more affordable housing in our city.


PLACE Design Group is a leading international planning, design and environment consultancy with offices in Australia, China and South-East Asia. 

You can read the full City Plan here. 

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