Skip navigation

Shafston House Submission March 2022

10 March 2022

Assessment Manager, Brisbane City Council, Development Services, Via email



To the Assessment Manager,

I write to lodge my objection to the development application that has been lodged for Shafston House (A005933994).

Shafston House is an historic Brisbane property, protected by both council and State government heritage listings. 

Over-Development in Kangaroo Point

This proposal is out of step with the expectations of local residents, and out of step with broader community expectations around heritage protection. My office has heard from almost a hundred residents opposed to a bulky development on this site.

I also note the dozens of submissions made when the developer applied to have ancillary buildings demolished. Around 50 residents protested against these demolitions on 7 June 2021. The community sentiment is firmly opposed to development on this site. 

The development also does nothing to contribute to improved housing affordability in the area, delivering luxury apartments that will only be accessible to the very wealthy. The local Councillor and I have been pushing for more public and affordable housing across the city, and are disappointed by yet another development that drives gentrification and inequality. 

This development also does not comply with the acceptable height outcome for the site, and certainly doesn’t comply with community expectations for the site (which are for much smaller buildings), so it also fails to satisfy the performance outcome for height.

A tower of this size will have a significant negative overshadowing impact on the street and on neighbouring buildings, making the precinct feel darker and gloomier, and blocking views of sunrise and sunset for existing residents.

Heritage Impacts

This proposal for a 15-storey luxury residential tower just metres away from a 1851 home makes a mockery out of council and state heritage protection. 

The entire Shafston House site is a State Heritage Place. The cultural heritage significance of the site extends beyond the house itself to the gardens, communal lawn, it’s connection with the river, the site’s cohesive aesthetic appeal, and it’s landmark status along the Brisbane river. This is reflected in Shafston House’s entry into the Queensland Heritage Register, meeting criterion A-E.

The proposed development is wildly noncompliant with the State Development Assessment Provisions - State Code 14: Queensland heritage: Table 14.2, PO1, PO2 & PO4:

  • The development does not minimise adverse impacts on the cultural heritage significance of Shafston House and its grounds. 
  • It does not employ methods or utilise materials that are compatible with the site. 
  • There is also no compelling reason why it is necessary, or in the public’s interest, to destroy a State Heritage Place for a luxury apartment block. 

I note also that this current proposal follows the BCC and state government approving an application by the developer to demolish a number of ancillary buildings around the house, and old trees. Building a bulky 15-storey residential tower on the site, almost right up against the house itself, will destroy the cultural heritage of the Shafston House site.

Traffic Impacts

This development proposes multiple levels of basement level car parking, with 102 parking spaces.

This necessarily attracts and introduces dozens more car movements to the area, exacerbating existing congestion and road safety issues.

The applicant’s suggestion that a development with over 100 car parking spaces will only lead to 13 additional vehicle movements during peak hour is laughable, and undermines the credibility of the entire Traffic Management Report. The number of vehicle movements in and out of the driveway will cause significant issues on this awkward bend of Thorn Street. 

Deep Planting

This is a particularly large site, which makes it especially disappointing and concerning that the application does not even meet the basic minimum requirement of 10% deep planting. In a dense neighbourhood, trees are essential for shade, amenity, and cooling down the inner-city. 

The project plans erroneously describe the heritage-listed green lawn as a deep planting area that compensates for the failure to meet the minimum requirement, but a lawn space is not deep-planted trees. Just because an area - in this case, greenspace that contributes to the heritage value of the property - could theoretically be used for deep planting, does not mean it should count towards the deep planting minimums. The lawns are also part of the heritage aspect of the property. 

Areas in close proximity to the house cannot be used for deep-planting while respecting the house’s heritage values and structural integrity. 

In addition, the gardens in and around Shafston House should be converted to publicly owned and accessible greenspace for the community to enjoy. 


The State Government made an election commitment to complete the Kangaroo Point Riverwalk. The proposed two-storey riverside homes are far too close to the future riverwalk and the waterway corridor, and I foresee significant issues and complaints in future when this becomes a public access-way in close proximity to these residential dwellings. There should be a generous set-back at the riverfront to allow for the Riverwalk, which we are expecting by 2024.

Easements or public laneways should be included on the site from both the Thorn St and Castlebar St gates to get to the river and the riverwalk. The lawns should be opened as public parkland.

Community Consultation

I note that the developers have included a community consultation report, that notes a facebook past that I made as part of their ‘consultation’. At no point have the developers or their public relations company met with me about this particular development, and have supposedly used my Facebook post as evidence of their own consultation. This is underhanded and insincere. They also include ‘media articles’ as consultation. Media is not consultation. 

I note that I have not been contacted by any local residents in support of this development, but rather have had contact from dozens of residents opposed to this development. The consultation report does rightly note the general opposition to over-development in Kangaroo Point. 

Please do not hesitate to contact my office on 07 3724 9100 if you would like to discuss this matter in more detail.

Kind regards,

Amy MacMahon

Member for South Brisbane

View the PDF here