The latest Development Application – Reis, Barracks & Kuhls Rd

This is a copy of a letter prepared to alert residents immediately adjacent to the area affected by this proposal that the DA had been lodged. It outlines some of the major impacts the development will have on them, and Highfields more broadly, if it were to proceed as proposed.

21 August 2017

DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION FOR LAND ALONG REIS, BARRACKS AND KUHLS ROAD HAS BEEN LODGED WITH COUNCIL

Dear Reis Road resident/neighbour,

You may be aware that Clive Berghofer has purchased the parcels of land bounded by Reis, Barracks and Kuhls Rds, and the parcel between Kuhls Rd, Reis and the New England Highway (fronting Reis Road).

On 8 August, a development application was lodged with the Toowoomba Regional Council for the reconfiguration of the block between Reis Rd, Barracks Rd and Kuhls Rd into 48 blocks. This is the first 2 stages of a multi-stage development that will ultimately be comprised of 220 house blocks.

You can access the full application at the TRC website via their PD Online facility. The application reference number is RAL/2017/4108. You can also search by applications submitted in the last month, and it is on about page 5, with reference number and Reis Rd in the description.

Whilst the development of these tacts of farmland is inevitable, the proposal, if it proceeds unchallenged will change massively the landscape, the appearance of Reis and Barracks Roads and increase even more the traffic volumes on Reis Road.

Today I rang the TRC to ask to speak with a town planner about my concerns. I was told that the application is “code assessable”, and if it is found to be compliant, it will simply be approved. There is no opportunity for public comment/objection. Our only option is to make a lot of noise. To get the attention of the TRC councillors, the rest of the Highfields community and the local media. It is up to us to work hard to get some consideration for the environment, our lifestyle and our neighbourhood amenity in the approval process.

 I have attached some of the key pages from the application to this letter. All are available for download at the PD Online site (see above).

Some of the key impacts identified in the proposal are as follows:

  1. Reis Rd will be widened to a 25m road reserve, requiring clearing of all the vegetation along the eastern side and future resumption of the southern side (where your houses are) [Appendix C, p6]The loss of these hundreds of large trees will have a devastating impact on the amenity of the Reis Rd – Barracks Rd neighbourhood, for both the people and the wildlife. The widening of the road will increase the speed and volume of traffic, further eroding our quality of life, the safety of those who travel by bike or foot, and of the wildlife.
  2. Removal of all the vegetation along Barracks Rd from the northern end to Kuhls Rd to allow for sewerage, a bitumen road and driveways from the development.The 2013 Local Plan (endorsed by TRC) suggests that Reis Rd have “ ‘country boulevard’ treatment – providing great amenity, shade and shelter”. Indicating that main entries to Highfields (Reis, Cawdor, Highfields Roads) should reinforce the rural aesthetic of the locality. These aspirations are NOT represented in any way in this proposal.
  3. There are no plans for a park in the development, which means that all the trees will be cleared from this block [Appendix B – Indicative Master Plan].
  4. All stormwater from the development will be piped directly into Klein Ck (at the end of Barracks Rd) [Appendix C, p7]. Although required stormwater modelling in the application shows clearly that a bioretention basis is required to reduce the pollutants and sediment that might otherwise enter the creek [Appendix C, p8-12] – the developer proposes a voluntary financial contribution of $374,000 in lieu of the retention basin.

These increased stormwater from the development (impervious roofs and roads covering a large proportion of the land), if piped directly into Klein Ck, will now meet the water being piped from the Avenues onto Reis Rd in Klein Creek. The impact on the creek in terms of erosion, pollution and impact on properties downstream has not been considered in this proposal.

In general, this development application is inconsistent with the TRC’s vision of the “unique character of Highfields” – characterised by “the natural beauty of bushland…” (Vision promoted in both the Highfields, Meringandan, Merigandan West local plan 2013, and the Highfields Masterplan 2017).

If “character trees” cannot be removed from busy roads in east Toowoomba (Hume, Bridge, Mary etc) which all carry far more traffic than Reis Rd – why can’t the Highfields “character trees” be retained? I for one would have no objection to the traffic moving more slowly along what will be a heavily populated residential street (despite its classification as a Distributor road).

Extract from RAL/2017/4108

Extract from RAL/2017/4108

Extract from RAL/2017/4108

Extract from RAL/2017/4108

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9 Responses to The latest Development Application – Reis, Barracks & Kuhls Rd

  1. Yvonne Hallaran says:

    I was absolutely appalled when I saw all of those beautiful trees “pink taped”. I drive along Reis road everyday and I adore the aesthetics and the beauty of this stretch of road. We purchased in this area 10 years ago and it was natural bush environment that attracted us. This is what makes Highfields what it is. I am sick and tired of “developers” ruining what we have. We live opposite the now near complete “Highfields North” Berghofer development. It is just roof top after roof top and there is nothing nice about it at all. So stop ruining Highfields

  2. Julie says:

    This has been done before in this area and many times again in other places. The council, owner and developers are only interested in one thing…money. Return on purchase and Rates provided without any thought to the Environmental and Social impacts of these ‘house on house’ projects. No green belt, no thought to the wildlife that exist in this area, no thought at all. Welcome to the new ‘ghetto’ of Toowoomba when the people with money will not select the same house row after row and no parkland for their kids, which doesn’t promote community engagement. Typical and predictable.

  3. Jennifer Ballantyne says:

    Not happy…..currently looking at whole plan.

  4. Barbara says:

    After the horrifying desecration of the ‘Avenues’ development site, this latest application adds insult to injury. I agree entirely with Yvonne and Julie: developers, interested only in making a profit, are ruining the character of this beautiful place and destroying the very characteristics that attract people to live here. Clive Berghofer must have made a great deal of money from Highfields already. Here is his opportunity to be philanthropic, by setting aside bushland corridors, allocating parkland and putting real energy into protecting the natural assets of this lovely area for posterity. Development is going to happen in Highfields, but it can take place sensitively.

  5. Grant Hallaran says:

    It is a disgrace that this development would be considered as “code assessable”, and will simply be approved without the Highfields community input.
    One would have to ask is the TRC really serving the community or the developer and why are they giving developers “code assessable ” classification?
    There is so many building developments going on around Highfields I am starting to think the TRC and developers are building for building sake and not looking after the local natural environment,fauna and flora at all.
    The charm and value to this area is the trees and natural landscape . The developers just want to cutdown these trees and the TRC appear to want to let them do it . With no consideration for what is best for the Highfields community they meant to serve.
    The trees along Reid Rd should be left to grow for another 100 years.

    • highfieldsdefenders says:

      Thanks Ted. I think there will be quite a few who will be very interested in this document. I have included links to it on the website so it is easily accessible.

  6. Edwin says:

    As Grant above asks “Why are they (TRC) giving developers “code assessable” classification?
    Surely this needs to be “impact assessable”

  7. Gail says:

    I agree with the comments above.Why isn’t there opportunity for the community to have a say in regards to the the developments proposed for the local area. We purchased a small acreage in Highfields three years ago which backed onto open farmland which kangaroos and other wild life frequented. In a few months time we will be looking at a housing development and sea of roof tops. Surely council approval of these developments should at least require a certain area to be set aside for proper wildlife corridors and not just the placement of a token tree here and there. I am also wondering how many Highfields residents are happy with the small block sizes currently being approved in the new developments. I have spoken to many people some not even living in the local area, yet none I have spoken with are in favour of block sizes around the 500 sqm size, which I am sure will lead to an increase in the number of neighbourhood disputes in the years to come.

    While it’s great that someone is trying to make council more accountable by setting up Highfields Defenders, the number of replies on this page does not indicate much community awareness of the site. I was only made aware of it by the sign near the pink tape in Reis Rd which I found rather difficult to read when driving by. I was wondering if anything else is being done to try and promote community concerns in regards to the removal of natural vegetation and development approvals for the area?

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