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A Queensland government plan to fast-track development around Brisbane's Roma Street Station as part of Cross River Rail is met with criticism from Brisbane City Council and local residents.
The state's plan could see up to 4,000 more people living around Roma Street Parklands by 2036, as well as adding an education facility, retail, shops, hotels and short-term accommodation, and a possible stadium.
But the council's planning spokeswoman Krista Adams said the proposal would create "lost land, lost car parking and multiple new towers".
The Roma Street Station will be one of the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project's busiest stations, with 46,000 people expected to use the station daily by 2036.
In December 2019, the state government declared 32-hectares surrounding Roma Street and the train station as a priority development area (PDA).
The proposed PDA curves around Roma Street Parklands and encompasses the train station, Brisbane Arrests Court and police station, Emma Miller Place, the parkland's administration buildings, and a car park and council works depot in the northern corner of the park.
What is a Priority Development Area?Priority Development Areas are managed by Economic Development Queensland, fast-tracking development under state management, instead of under council planning laws.
Public consultation on the Roma Street PDA is underway before it is signed off by State Development Minister Steven Miles.
The PDA envisions Roma Street becoming "a key economic and community hub, built around reinvigorated heritage places [and] extensive new public spaces".
A map showing the boundaries of the Roma Street PDA and key locations (not to scale).(Supplied: Cross River Rail
)Cross River Rail says the PDA is not a masterplan, but rather a "framework of planning rules" to assess development proposals against for the next 20 to 30 years.
"Given current projections for population and jobs growth, as well as a potential 2032 Olympics, there is significant need to develop the Roma Street precinct, while making sure existing community amenities are enhanced or preserved," a Cross River Rail spokesman said.
The spokesman said the PDA would increase public space and would not remove public parkland.
What is proposed?The Roma Street PDA proposes a host of new development, including an entertainment precinct and stadium between Emma Miller Place and the train station.
It will develop the precinct into a mix of commercial, residential and office towers, hotels, retail and education facilities, capitalising on the busy transport centre below.
Proposed timeline for development at the Roma Street Precinct are 2025 for stage one (red), 2026 for stage two (yellow), 2031 for stage three (green) and 2036 for stage four (blue).(Supplied: ABC Radio Brisbane
)Brisbane City Council's $1.2 billion Brisbane Metro will also stop at Roma Street, but the Inner Northern Busway must be relocated, with a new alignment not yet determined.
CRR's "baseline" for the PDA has development broken into stages, with the first stage expected to be completed 2025, and the fourth stage completed by 2036.
The first stage includes constructing the Cross River Rail station, and the second develops the remainder of the train station precinct with large-scale towers.
The third stage, for 2031, includes the proposed stadium and a new hotel at the former Hotel Jen site of up to 47 storeys. Under the PDA, 15-storey development could be permitted over the coach terminal and park administration buildings.
A concept image for a stadium at Roma Street as part of the Cross River Rail Roma Street PDA.(Supplied: Cross River Rail
)An education and research precinct might also be constructed over the northern corner where the council's work depot and public car park sits, relocating the works depot elsewhere.
Brisbane's arrests court and police buildings are also flagged for potential development of five to 25 storeys.
Does everyone agree?The proposals have sparked concern from neighbouring residents, and from Brisbane City Council's planning spokeswoman Krista Adams, who says the PDA as it stands "turns a public space into a taxpayer-funded pleasure park for the private residents of adjoining towers".
"This state government plan abolishes council's works depot which includes a composting facility which helps save residents around $300,000 a year," Cr Adams said.
"Their plan also includes the removal of 149 car parks which are heavily relied on by visitors to the parkland, with no suitable alternative.
"This plan also includes references to relocation of the Inner Northern Busway, which could impact the Roma Street station and Brisbane Metro."
The Cross River Rail spokesman said the future location of the Inner Northern Busway "needs to be guided by future development".
"We're working with industry to explore commercial options for the precinct, and have chosen not to lock in a final busway design to see if the market can deliver a better commercial and planning outcome."
Parkland apartment residents Jean Bursle and Dennis Sheehan are concerned about the impacts of the PDA.(ABC Radio Brisbane: Lucy Stone
)Apartment residents living on the southern edge of Roma Street Parklands say it would unacceptably impact the park.
Resident Jean Bursle told ABC Radio Brisbane they were concerned about the loss of the council's works depot, even if it wasn't publicly-accessible.
"It's fundamentally open green space in a constrained city that once it's gone, we will never get it back," she said.
Ms Bursle said the PDA prioritised transit over the importance of the parklands in Brisbane's international and local tourism.
"They're about getting people in and out of the city, to and from [the stadium], and all of those are very noble aspirations for a transport facility — but transport should not happen in park areas," she said.
"So, either change these purposes or rejig your purposes to acknowledge the fundamental standing of Roma Street Parkland as a destination, and as a local residents' sanctuary … but also one of our premier tourists attractions."
Public comment on the proposed PDA is open until April 1.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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