Tribunal backs council’s Welcome Stranger development decision

The Welcome Stranger hotel. Picture: RICHARD JUPE
The Welcome Stranger hotel. Picture: RICHARD JUPE

The state’s planning tribunal has dealt another blow to a proposed $30 million development at the site of the Welcome Stranger hotel in central Hobart.

The Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal on Friday released its decision following a hearing in November, upholding Hobart City Council’s refusal of the application.

In July, council voted 7-4 to knock back the plan by developers the Hexa Group for 13- and 10-storey towers with 52 apartments on the corner of Davey and Harrington streets due to heritage grounds.

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These included the loss of original 19th century historic fabric and its bulk, scale and siting with respect to a listed building.

The council refused the application on seven grounds, including that heritage values in the area would not be protected, and the building would be individually prominent because of its height and bulk.

Appealing the council’s decision to RMPAT, the developers argued the project would not be detrimental to the heritage significance of the precinct and that the building would not unreasonably dominate other buildings.

But in its decision, the tribunal said it “accepts the submission of the council that the height of the proposal on both the Harrington Street and Davey Street frontages will unreasonably dominate the adjacent heritage listed buildings”.

Hobart Not Highrise spokesman Brian Corr says he is happy with the outcome.

“We’re certainly pleased, because it means that the council made the right decision and is now supported by the tribunal which is always good,’’ he says.

“It does protect the heritage and streetscape of that particular area in town which is really nicely preserved.”

Council’s Deputy Lord Mayor Helen Burnet says the tribunal’s decision vindicates the council’s, which she says put a high value on heritage.

“If you look along Davey St, that’s a million dollar view and the streetscape is a really important aspect,’’ she says.

“The value of heritage has been won in this decision.”

Prior to its vote in July, the council had received 883 submissions on the proposal, of which 800 were against.

The proponents declined to comment on the tribunal’s decision.

This article from the Sunday Tasmanian originally appeared as “Tribunal backs council ruling on Welcome Stranger development proposal”.