The Toowoomba Railway Parklands Priority Development Area (PDA) was declared on 12 December 2014 at the request of Toowoomba Regional Council. The PDA covers land centred on and around the Toowoomba Railyards which extends north to Bridge Street and south to Russell Street, and is bounded by Mort Street to the west and Ruthven - Neil Streets to the east.
The PDA is situated north of Toowoomba's Central Business District, within the city centre frame. It is focussed around central parkland on an operational railyard site and Gowrie Creek, surrounded by a mixture of commercial, industrial, retail and residential land uses. It also incorporates a number of places of state and local heritage significance that are representative of the historical composition of land uses within the locality. The Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA covers an area of approximately 50 hectares.
Planning and development assessment in the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA is managed by Toowoomba Regional Council.
Toowoomba Railway Parklands (PDA) background information
Initially the Ruthven Street Streetscape redesign (almost $5 million) extended the look and feel of the northern CBD with additional landscaping, parking and improved footpaths. The award-winning Outer Circulating Road Project build
extending Victoria Street ($50 million) now also allows traffic to bypass the CBD via a bridge.
The next major redevelopment for the area is the Toowoomba Railway Parklands, a site given Priority Development Area (PDA) status in December 2014 at the request of Toowoomba Regional Council. The site is a key urban renewal and economic development opportunity and is designed as an active, high quality mixed density urban village to reinforce and frame the CBD. It will create strong appeal for residents, visitors, workers and investors.
In January 2016 the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA development scheme was approved by the Queensland Government. Toowoomba Regional Council will manage the planning and development assessment of the site in line with the City Centre Master Plan. The development scheme includes a land use plan, an infrastructure plan and implementation strategy in line with the Economic Development Act 2012. The PDA covers a total area of 51.3 hectares bordered by Russell Street, Ruthven Street, Mort Street and Bridge Street. The site will embrace its geographic location to create industrial, heritage, residential choices and valuable urban parklands through efficiently connected movement corridors providing unique civic and social functions.
Recently, $5 million from the Queensland Government’s ‘Building Our Regions’ program was matched with a further $5 million from Toowoomba Regional Council for Stage 1 of the Railway Parklands development.
The $10 million will see the 120-year old unused heritage-listed Toowoomba Railway Goods Shed transformed into a first-class flexible space to attract commercial and cultural interests. It will create 31 jobs with construction to begin in May and be completed by May 2018 (Department of State Development, 2016 http://www.dsdmip.qld.gov.au/regions/economic-development/building-our-regions/funded-projects.html)
The Goods Shed refurbishment is the first stage of the broader $50 million Railway Parkland component within the PDA, which will see the former railyards site transformed into a regionally significant community asset incorporating open spaces and recreation with bridge infrastructure linking to others areas of the PDA.
Once completed, the Railway Parklands will provide sought after inner-city housing options for Toowoomba’s expanding population, projected to increase by more than 50,000 people over the next 20 years. It will also provide revitalised heritage-sites for multi-function use and community events as well as an urban parkland.
The PDA will create jobs in construction, grow housing markets in the area and attract development and new business in retail and professional services.
Other key segments within the PDA include:
- The Mill: The historic Defiance Flour Mill that operated from 1899 until 2011. The site is planned to be redeveloped into medium density residential with ground level retail and commercial use.
- The Link: Residential, business and retail usage that links the PDA to the CBD.
- The Gasworks: Old industrial site recently fully remediated and ready for redevelopment as medium density residential and commercial usage.
- The Rise: Includes properties in close proximity to the railway station with potential to evolve as a business, cultural and entertainment hub.
- The Foundry: Heritage listed building formerly the Toowoomba Foundry and Toowoomba Metal Technologies, planned to be developed as medium density residential, ground level retail and commercial and importantly act as a connection to the surrounding community.
Vision for the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA
The Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA will develop as an active, high quality mixed density urban village which will reinforce and frame the Toowoomba CBD core area. It will embrace its geographic location to integrate industrial, heritage, residential choices and valuable urban parklands through efficiently connected movement corridors. It will provide unique civic and social functions contributing to amenity for the broader Toowoomba region.
Adoption of the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA development scheme
On 28 January 2016, the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA development scheme was approved by the Queensland Government.
Public notification of the proposed development scheme for the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA was held from 14 September 2015 to 27 October 2015 (the submission period). During the submission period all interested parties – including the community, residents, and business operators – were invited to view the proposed development scheme and make a written submission for consideration by the Minister for Economic Development Queensland (MEDQ).
All submissions received during public notification were considered by the MEDQ. The Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA Submissions Report has been prepared and summarises the submissions received and the merits of those submissions. In some cases, amendments were made to the proposed scheme as a consequence of issues raised in submissions.
People who made a submission during the submission period were notified that the development scheme had been approved and was in effect. A copy of the submissions report, approved by the MEDQ, can be downloaded from the link below.
A significant amount of public consultation was undertaken between 2009-2012 as part of the development of the City Centre Master Plan, and in the preparation of and ongoing amendments to the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme 2012. Throughout 2015, Toowoomba Regional Council also conducted a number of public consultation activities on the Central Parklands aspect of the PDA. A public notification period as per statutory requirements ran from Monday 14 September to Tuesday 27 October 2015. A Community Information Session was also held on Saturday 10 October.
Planning for the PDA
A development scheme is a relatively simple and flexible document intended to facilitate the purpose of the Economic Development Act 2012 and comprises a land use plan, an infrastructure plan and an implementation strategy. The development scheme must be prepared within 12 months of the declaration of a PDA. The development scheme:
- Provides certainty to developers, local government, state agencies and the wider community about the type and form of development that can occur in the PDA
- Sets out the processes and procedures for the assessment of development applications
- Overrides local and state government planning instruments related to the use of land within a PDA
The Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA Development Scheme is the planning document that will assist in planning, carrying out, promoting, coordinating and controlling the development of land in the PDA. The development scheme supersedes the Interim Land Use Plan, which no longer has effect.
All development applications within the PDA will now be assessed against the development scheme.
The Economic Development Act 2012 (the Act) provides for a streamlined planning and development framework for PDAs to facilitate economic development and development for community purposes. Once a site is declared under the Act, a development scheme for the PDA must be prepared. The development scheme for the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA has been prepared by Toowoomba Regional Council.
Priority Development Areas are not limited to a specific currency (i.e. end of life) timeframe.
Infrastructure planning and funding
The Toowoomba Railway Parklands Development Scheme includes an infrastructure plan to ensure the right infrastructure is in place to support this growing and dynamic area. Infrastructure charges are set out in Toowoomba Regional Council’s applicable charges resolution.
Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA Interim Land Use Plan
Until the development scheme was finalised, development within the PDA was regulated under the Interim Land Use Plan (ILUP). The ILUP was replaced by the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA Development Scheme on 29 January 2016.
Reasons for declaration for priority development area (PDA)
The Toowoomba Railway Parklands site is a key urban renewal and economic development opportunity for Toowoomba and the region. Significant master planning has already been undertaken and the declaration of this site as a PDA builds on this work and improves investor confidence in the site.
It is anticipated that development within the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA will:
- generate jobs through construction and in the completed development
- provide a range of new housing types for the community's changing needs
- attract development and new business
- deliver development with community benefit (e.g. community infrastructure and key services).
Council’s role within the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA
The Minister for Economic Development Queensland (MEDQ) has delegated plan preparation and development assessment powers to Council. EDQ worked with Council, state agencies and the community to prepare the development scheme which will be used to guide future development outcomes within the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA.
Assessment of development applications
The declaration of the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA will increase opportunities and certainty, provide clarity for residential and commercial development, and direct private investment and the development of the Railway Parklands area.
Development assessment powers have been delegated from the Queensland Government to Toowoomba Regional Council. A development application within the Railway Parklands PDA must be lodged to Toowoomba Regional Council, and will be assessed under the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA Development Scheme and the Economic Development Act 2012. The application will be subject to timeframes established under the The Economic Development Act 2012. There is: .
- emphasis on pre-application discussions to minimise information requests
- no code or impact assessment
- no state agency referrals
- no negotiated decision
- no third party appeal rights
- application can only appeal a nominated assessing authority condition
Please find the forms and processes for lodgement of a PDA development application in the related documents below.
Building applications will continue to be assessed under the Planning Act 2016 which provides for private building certification.