The long anticipated Huntingfield Master Plan was released by the State Government on Wednesday, May 13, and an interactive, online map is now available where the community can offer feedback and comments on the proposed design.
According to Minister for Housing, Roger Jaensch, the almost seven month delay in delivering the Master Plan was a result of several factors, including processing paperwork, sensitive Aboriginal heritage factors, the large amount of community feedback, the Christmas break and the coronavirus, which required shifting from face-to-face sessions to an online delivery of the plan.
Mayor of Kingborough Cr Dean Winter commented that the State Government’s decision to fast-track the process was unexpected.
“We have always known housing would be built there and council has been waiting for the State Government to do something for many years,” Mayor Winter said.
“We did not expect the Minister for Planning to use fast-track legislation to override local planning controls and place high-density residential zoning on the site.
“Had this gone through the standard rezoning process, in my view, it is highly unlikely it would have been approved,” continued Mayor Winter.
“It is almost a year since Minister Jaensch started on this ‘fast-track’ process.
“It really is a farce because we still have no development application.”
The plan shows a variety of sizes across the 470 lot development including ‘townhouse’ designated lots at 132-165 square metres, ‘medium density’ lots at 275-330 square metres, ‘standard density’ lots at 350-495 square metres and ‘low density’ lots which will be 500 square metres or greater.
Two retail lots are also located on the plan, proposing corner shops or small cafés, with the potential for other community projects.
The plan offers one playground site, space for a mountain bike track and nature trails through the green spaces of the 68-hectare development.
Also indicated on the plan is a continuation of Nautilus Grove, which connects the new development to the existing Huntingfield precinct, as well as a single roundabout, which will give access to and from the Channel Highway.
Minister Jaensch said that he hopes the community will engage with the online plan and form their own opinion before commenting.
“Now that we’re into talking about the subdivision itself, how it will look and feel, as opposed to what people feared it might be based on the zoning only, they’ll be able to see what was informing the zoning plan that they saw earlier on,” said Minister Jaensch.
“This is based on the best, latest thinking from around Australia and internationally.”
“Anything in the Master Plan that they feel strongly about; positive, negative, suggestions, we’re keen to hear it all and we’ll do so with a view to refining the Master Plan before we submit it to the council.”
Minister Jaensch said he hopes seeing the Master Plan will put some of the community concerns to rest.
This optimism is not shared by Mayor Winter.
“The local community need to understand that as Planning Minister, Roger Jaensch set the rules around planning for the site last year,” Mayor Winter stated.
“Now, as Housing Minister, Minister Jaensch is seeking to develop the site.
“No development application has been submitted as yet but it seems highly likely that Minister Jaensch, barring total incompetence, will lodge a development application that is consistent with the rules he set for planning on the site.”
Coordinator for Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania (PMAT), Sophie Underwood agreed.
“It seems to be that the State Government has written the rules at the cost of the community,” said Ms Underwood.
“It’s very different to what residents were initially told would be the plan for Huntingfield, increasing from 230 lots to 470 lots.
“Any issues we have with the density, we now can’t have addressed.
“It highlights the importance of a robust and transparent planning scheme.”
Ms Underwood encouraged the community to engage with the consultation process and voice their opinion on the development.
After the consultation period, which ends on June 26, amendments may be made by the government before a development application (DA) will be submitted to Kingborough Council for approval.
“We’ll get it to them as soon as possible after the consultation has finished in June,” Minister Jaensch said.
Minister Jaensch expressed his hope that the current consultation process will pre-empt representations that may otherwise be made to Kingborough Council.
Mayor Winter told the community that any DA submitted to council will be assessed under the planning scheme and there would be little room for change.
“I will not allow Minister Jaensch to go around pretending that council will have the discretion to reject this project for any reason,” Mayor Winter stated.
“Council’s only role here is to assess Roger Jaensch’s development application as Housing Minister against the planning rules that he forced through the Parliament as the Planning Minister.
“There is no room for councillors’ personal views about the appropriateness about the zoning or infrastructure.
“We simply assess whether the development application meets the requirement of the scheme.”
Depending on the approval process for the DA, works are expected to begin on the site later this year, with land sales and homes being built by 2022.
Minister Jaensch confirmed that 15 per cent of the development would be retained by the government to provide affordable housing.
The works are expected to inject around $19 million into the local economy and create over 140 full-time jobs.
The construction of homes is also expected to deliver almost $120 million in economic activity, while creating over 850 jobs.
Minister Jaensch said he would like to maximise Tasmanian and Kingborough involvement rather than using interstate companies, adding that local suppliers should express their interest early in being involved.
The construction works will include the Channel Highway roundabout which, along with improved bus services, Minister Jaensch believes will ease the current congestion on the Fork in the Road roundabout.
“There’s an alternate access and egress pathway there, so that should improve the current Algona Road roundabout because traffic travelling from the south, to the school drop off, will have another way to come in,” Minister Jaensch said.
The infrastructure has not been adequately planned Mayor Winter stated, referencing an overdue traffic planning study.
“The is still no plan for infrastructure to support these new homes,” Mayor Winter said.
“The Channel Highway - Kingston to Margate Planning Study outcome is now overdue and still unannounced.
“There needs to be a plan for the Fork in the Road roundabout, at the very least funded, before any of these houses are built.”
The community have demonstrated a similar level of concern, with the majority of feedback provided online centring on discussions about the proposed roundabout.
The interactive Huntingfield Master Plan can be viewed online at https://huntingfield.mysocialpinpoint.com/huntingfield-master-plan
Pictured above: The Huntingfield Master Plan has shown one new access point via a roundabout on the CHannel Highway, just past Maddocks Road. The Majority ofthe community responses via the onlone plan have been providing feedback on the access, traffic and infrastructure of the proposed development.