After losing the legal battle, Sunland has decided to abandon its “Grace on Coronation” development plans at the Coronation Drive, Toowong.
The controversial “champagne flute” skyscraper — designed by Dame Zaha Hadid, who passed away in 2016 — was a $430-million development proposal for a 555-unit, two 24-storey and one 27-storey towers at the former ABC studios site. The proposed development at the 1.5-hectare site also included a landscaped public parkland and ground floor retail space. Approval was granted by the Brisbane City Council in 2015 and construction was scheduled to commence that same year.
Local resident Kate Peta Bell, however, appealed the decision on the grounds that the proposed buildings exceeded the height limitation of 15-storeys. The appeal was dismissed by Judge Rackemann on the basis that the public space surrounding the base of the tower offset the non-compliance with the Brisbane City Council planning scheme.
In May 2018, the Planning and Environment Court’s decision was overturned by the Supreme Court of Queensland and leave to appeal was granted.
It is not for the decision maker (including in this context a Court), to gainsay the expression of what constitutes the public interest that is in a planning scheme. A decision maker might think that a limit of 15 storeys is too restrictive, and the public would be better served by a higher limit. But this decision maker must accept that it is in the public interest that the limit be 15 storeys, because that is what the planning scheme effectively provides – Bell v Brisbane City Council & Ors  QCA 84.
Ultimately, by the judge substituting his own view of the public interest for that which was expressed in the Scheme, there was a legal error which affected his conclusion under s 326. Further, that was also affected by the legal error in the interpretation of overall outcome (3)(h). – Bell v Brisbane City Council & Ors  QCA 84.
In my conclusion, the judgment was affected by errors of law, which warrant a grant of leave to appeal and the appeal being allowed. – Bell v Brisbane City Council & Ors  QCA 84.
Ultimately, the proposal was refused in the Planning and Environment Court’s final decision last September 2018.
The Sunland Group said that they respect the court’s decision and has since removed the “Grace on Coronation” development from their website. A new project for the Coronation Drive site is now being conceived, however, no details have been disclosed yet.