Qld government bans towers on Gold Coast’s Southport Spit

The Queensland government has cemented a ban on future development over three storeys on the Gold Coast’s Southport Spit, bringing to a close a years-long battle over the future of construction in the area.

The area is currently a mostly low-rise area of the Gold Coast home to a number of tourist attractions. The change comes through new amendments to the Planning Regulation 2017. Exemptions will be made for existing structures in the Sea World theme park, but any new buildings must conform to the limit.

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Several high-profile proposals for high-rise developments which flouted the Gold Coast City Plan’s three-storey height limit for the area led the government to begin preparing a masterplan in August 2017.

These proposals included a five-tower casino resort designed by Blight Rayner on a 5.5-hectare, government-owned site, which was terminated by the government following community consultations. Another failed proposal involved a design by Zaha Hadid Architects for two 44-storey towers, which was by the same developer.

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Locals were critical of the tower proposals, with concerns about the height of the towers and the environmental and traffic impacts the developments would have had on the area.

The masterplan, released this year, was developed in partnership with the City of Gold Coast and the Gold Coast Waterways Authority, and outlines development opportunities that do not break the three-storey limit.

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In a statement, Queensland planning miniser Cameron Dick said, “We received more than 23,000 pieces of feedback during an extensive 18-month master planning process. The message was clear: the community broadly supported a three-storey height limit being imposed.”

“This regulation change will ensure future development integrates with the existing landscape and maintains the prominence of The Spit’s natural values.”

Hal Morris, CEO of the Gold Coast Waterways Authority, said that the height limit would help to preserve the natural character of the area.

“The waters and foreshores around The Spit are a real asset, so it’s important the connection between the land and water is maintained.”

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