The design of the proposed Warehouse Hotel and its suitability for the city was discussed in the ongoing planning appeal between a Launceston protectionist group, the council and an international developer.
The appeal brought by the Launceston Heritage Not Highrise group before the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal continues today.
One of the main issues being considered is whether the proposed 43-metre high structure is compatible with the streetscape and character of the surrounding area, having regard to the topography, existing character of the surrounding area, and the height, bulk and form of the structure in relation to surrounding buildings.
The design of the hotel sees the floors of the building progressively rise higher, while at the same time, the floors become further set back from the street.
ERA Planning director Emma Riley said in evidence yesterday that height was a significant factor in her conclusion that the hotel development application was not valid.
She said this type of “tower and podium” form was not commonly evident or compatible with other buildings in the surrounding area.
“I accept that the proponent has worked with some accepted measures to reduce the perceived bulk and height. It is not enough in my opinion to satisfy the performance criteria,” Ms Riley said.
“If you were looking at it, for example, in the central part of Hobart, that lower podium tower is a common building form …while we have some buildings that have large footprints and are bulky in a footprint sense they are still very low rise.
“This one has the combination of not only bulk, but also pulling the bulk upwards introducing rectangular prisms…in one section the rectangular prison actually cantilevers over another.
“That in particular is an incongruous element within the character of what currently exists in the area.”
Scanlon Architects states that “a conscious decision was made to split the new lower podium and new upper massing from the elements for the Warehouse Hotel…this was to reduce the perceived bulk, to setback the upper massing from the site boundaries and to create drama via the cantilever of the tower element”.