//Collins St hotel proposal faces uphill battle after planning committee rejection

Collins St hotel proposal faces uphill battle after planning committee rejection

An artist’s impression of the Fragrance Group’s Collins Street hotel proposal.

FRAGRANCE Group’s second attempt to build a large-scale high-rise hotel in Hobart’s CBD is on the brink of failure.

Just a month after the Hobart City Council knocked back the Singapore-based firm’s twin towers project in North Hobart, it now faces an uphill battle to have councillors and aldermen overturn the planning committee’s decision to refuse its Collins St hotel proposal.

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At a meeting on Monday night, the committee voted 3-2 to reject the application on grounds relating to its 55-metre height, the hotel’s domination of other buildings in the area and a failure to complement the character of Sullivans Cove.

The hotel, at 2-6 Collins St, is proposed to feature 256 rooms, conference facilities including a 1000-seat conference hall, meeting spaces, two restaurants, a retail space, a pool and wellness centre, and three levels of above-ground carparking totalling 167 spaces.

Council meeting

Project architects Samuel Haberle, left, and Jits Shen Gan at the planning committee meeting. Picture: MATHEW FARRELL

Alderman Jeff Briscoe engaged in a back-and-forth discussion with architects Sam Haberle and Jits Sheng Gan representing Fragrance Group.

“I just remind you the objectives of the activity area is to provide for the development of an inner-city residential neighbourhood providing quality urban housing for a range of household types and income groups, and to ensure that residential development is the primary focus,” Ald Briscoe said.

“I will put it to you that your development — the size and bulk — will dominate and turn a residential area into a hotel area. Have you got a response to that?”

Mr Haberle replied: “So historically when that was master planned as a residential area, talking to urban planners within Hobart, they do believe that hasn’t worked as a precinct or a master plan.”

Council meeting

The bulk of the public gallery at the Hobart City Council planning committee meeting were anti-high rise. Picture: MATHEW FARRELL

Mr Haberle was interrupted by loud outbursts from the reasonably packed and anti-high-rise public gallery.

“Rubbish,” yelled a woman.

“I’m only repeating what I’ve heard,” Mr Haberle replied.

Acting chairman of the committee Alderman Simon Behrakis urged the public to be quiet.

Mr Haberle argued that the hotel proposal was not dissimilar to other building heights in the CBD, including the 69-metre tall Royal Hobart Hospital.

Ald Briscoe said in his view the hotel was “totally out of scale”.

“I believe this area should remain residential and not be dominated by hotels,” he said.

“The idea of the hospital is a furphy and not even in the same planning scheme.”

Alderman Jeff Briscoe and Councillors Bill Harvey and Helen Burnet voted against the hotel proposal.

Alderman Tanya Denison joined Ald Behrakis in supporting the proposal.

The matter will be decided at the council meeting next Monday.