Modern Boxed Units to Replace Linden Lea in Toowong

Losing Linden Lea still leaves a sore spot among the residents of Archer Street in Toowong but there’s more local outrage about this controversial inner west site as a new development plan reveals what’s going to replace one of the last Tudor-style homes in Brisbane.

Town Planning Alliance has lodged a development application (DA A005505915), on behalf of Linden Lea’s owner, Klinkert Investments, detailing plans to construct modern boxed units on the demolished site. 

The developer said that the proposed structure goes in line with the Auchenflower-Toowong Neighbourhood Plan and has been designed and reconfigured to be consistent with the streetscape.

Photo Credit: Developmenti/Brisbane City Council

The modern boxed units appear to have six levels — basement, lower ground floor, actual ground floor, level one, level two and rooftop — to accommodate four apartment units. On the other hand, the front side takes up the space that used to be a garden.

Photo Credit: Developmenti/Brisbane City Council

However, locals and heritage lovers alike object to the development, describing the planned new building as “worlds apart” from the majestic character house. They wonder how the modern house could be assimilated with the rows of character houses on Archer Street.

Further issues were raised following a meeting with the owner, Mr Stephen Klinkert, and the architect of the apartment unit. The neighbours informed them that the construction could impact the stability of the pre-war houses next to it given the bulk and the proximity of the building to the other structures.

Neighbours failed to save Linden Lea from demolition in March 2021 amidst a last-minute bid to list the house as a heritage site. However, the Queensland Heritage Act did not have authority over the development and could not issue a stop-order.

Linden Lea’s owners filed for full demolition in 2017 and Brisbane City Council rejected the application. They submitted an appeal with the Planning and Environment Court, which overturned Council’s decision in 2019. 

The development application is still undergoing review as of press time. The Toowong community is hoping that all issues will be considered prior to the approval.

Linden Lea: Demolition of Toowong Tudor-Style House Proceeds

It’s the end of an era for Linden Lea, the Tudor-style historic house standing on Archer Street in Toowong, after workers with excavators proceeded to tear down its structures.

Despite community efforts to stop the demolition, workers have been breaking down parts of the house from the inside as early as Monday, 1 March 2021. On Thursday, some of the outdoor structures have been knocked down as well because the house didn’t have protection as a heritage-listed site.

Originally designed by architect Horace Driver, Linden Lea was built in 1937 for the famous Websters family, which owned Brisbane’s first Shingle Inn. 

The six-bedroom house with servants’ quarters boasted of a river frontage and a massive Moreton Bay fig in the backyard. The front section on Archer street had a lovely garden and sat next to other interwar homes. Every feature added to the character of the property.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

But Linden Lea was sold to the current owners in 2013. In 2017, they filed a demolition application with Brisbane City Council, which was rejected. Two years after the rejection, the owners won the appeal with the Planning and Environment Court. Among the reasons for overturning Council’s decision was that the house isn’t located in a character residential zone.

In a last-ditch effort, neighbours filed a heritage-listing application on 10 Feb 2021, citing that Linden Lea has rare architecture and it used to be home to a family with lasting links to Brisbane. 

Minister for the Environment Megahan Scanlon MP said that Linden Lea’s heritage application “may likely satisfy the cultural heritage criteria” but she also told the Toowong Residents Group that demolition can proceed, as authorised by a court order. There has been no stop-work order from her office.  

Meanwhile, the owner’s development application for the new building to replace this Tudor-style house is still pending with Council.