Tuesday, 28 January, 2020

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Developer Errol Stewart’s $50 million tower project scrapped


An artist’s impression of Errol Stewart’s proposed $50 million Kings Wharf development on the eastern bank of the Tamar River in Launceston. Picture: SUPPLIED

A DEVELOPER has scrapped a $50 million apartment development proposal for Launceston after a planning scheme amendment proved too difficult.

Stewart Group Tasmania’s Kings Wharf Towers project included two 32m residential apartment towers containing 16 apartments each to be built at Lindsay St, opposite Pepper’s Silos hotel, as well as an “up-market” grocery store and an amenities and office building.

A planning scheme amendment was required for new residential buildings to be built inside the levee-protected Invermay flood zone.

The Launceston businessman and developer behind the proposal, Errol Stewart, today announced the proposal was disappointingly “dead in the water”.

Developer Errol Stewart, left, with Treasurer Peter Gutwein presenting his proposed Kings Wharf development in Launceston in May. Picture: CHRISTOPHER TESTA.

He said his team had “difficulty” navigating the planning scheme amendment process and could not convince council planners that future flooding did not pose a significant risk.

“There was always some risk, and I understood the risks, so there’s not animosity from my point of view, but there’s been plenty of development in Invermay inside the flood levee,” he said.

“The University built a number of units for student accommodation, Bunnings is the biggest retail store in the land, along with Officeworks, and JB Hi-Fi built adjacent to where we were contemplating our development.

“We are significantly higher in terms of the flood levy than they [are]. From that perspective it was disappointing.

“Given that the Government … have spent literally hundreds of millions on flood levies, it’s disappointing that they won’t allow residential development inside that given that Invermay is already there now.

“But they certainly are going to bring the University into town and build in exactly the same position that I wanted.”

$5M UTAS BRIDGE TO CONNECT STUDENTS TO THE CBD

Artist’s impression of Errol Stewart’s proposed $50 million Kings Wharf development on the eastern bank of the Tamar River in Launceston. Picture: supplied.

Mr Stewart said the company had buyers in place for several of the towers’ apartments valued at upwards of $1.5 million.

Sun Tas

Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE

Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten denied the planning process was “impossible to navigate” and said Mr Stewart had been unwilling “to provide the minimum standards of information to meet the requirements of the planning scheme”.

Ald van Zetten said the council was disappointed Mr Stewart chose to “walk away from his tower development project”.

“The City of Launceston has issued more than 650 planning permits this year alone and Mr Stewart has been able to navigate the system on many occasions with previous developments.

“However, this proposed development has proven to be a step too far.”

Ald van Zetten said the proposal was always going to be difficult to deliver on a site that “presented a number of challenges to be overcome”.

“Council planning officers were aware of the challenges this amendment presented and explained these challenges in a fair and balanced manner. It’s also not about moving the goal posts,” he said.