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Hobart not Highrise wants the State Government to confirm that its proposed Major Projects Legislation will not be used to override the Hobart City Council, if the Council decides to not approve the Fragrance Group’s skyscraper proposals.

Development applications for the 179m Davey St and 94m Collins St hotels are currently being assessed by the Council against a planning scheme where the height rules are no higher than 18 metres. The development applications are yet to be released to the public.

“Before the official period for public comment commences, it is important for the community to know who the final decision-maker will be”, said Hobart not Highrise president, Brian Corr.

“Hobart not Highrise believes that decision-making about development in the Sullivans Cove Planning Scheme should remain with the Hobart City Council”, he said.

A petition by Hobart not Highrise now has more than 5700 signatories urging the Hobart City Council to reject the skyscraper proposals.

Under the rules of the Sullivans Cove Planning Scheme, Hobart City Council should be bound to reject the Fragrance Group proposals for Collins and Davey Streets.

The Liberal State Government promised to introduce Major Projects Legislation at the last election, that would give the Planning Minister new powers to assess and permit projects.

“We note that Planning Minister Mr Gutwein told the Mercury on 9 August that the new legislation ‘would not be about fast-tracking these sorts of skyscrapers’”, said Mr Corr.

“However, we’re still not certain if the State Government intends to use its new legislation to override the Council and approve high-rise buildings that don’t meet the planning rules for Hobart’s historic waterfront.”

“We’re seeking a clear guarantee from the Planning Minister that the proposed Major Projects Legislation will not be used to remove Hobart City Council from the decision-making process if the skyscraper developers don’t get what they want”, Mr Corr said.

The recent release of the Cable Car Facilitation Bill is a precedent that shows the preparedness of the State Government to intervene in development decisions that are the responsibility of the Council.
Peter Black, Brian Corr