As part of my tendency for Aspley Watching, I’ve just noted that signs have been erected in the main shopping centre declaring it is for sale (see this Google Map). This is Aspley’s suburban centre, built prior to the Hypermarket. The Local Area Plan notes that “The Aspley Centre will be reinforced as a northern gateway to Brisbane” (links to PDF). I dislike the primary preference to Aspley as a gateway – it’s not just a place that people drive through, it’s not just a place for cars (the plan does refer to pedestrian linkages and maps tend to include dotted lines through carparks to indicate those. Laughingly called a design guideline). The goings on here highlighs the need for an updated Neighbourhood Plan in this area to reconnect the locality by beginning to integrate redevelopment of this site with other local opportunities:
- Aspley is Brisbane’s first NBN site
- A major apartment development, with buildings up to 12 stories is planned for the Caravan Park sites
- The Northern Busway is in planning and will link Aspley by rapid transit
- Another significantly sized site (about 2 acres) on Gympie Road is for sale.
Should these projects involve redevelopment there is a need for appropriate community consultation and community benefits, which didn’t seem to happen when the McDonalds site was redeveloped (I’ve been corrected – it apparently did happen). Consultation on the proposed Busway has been far from adequate. The sort of development happening here is the type that the Productivity Commission warns against due to a potential focus on site by site or DA by DA rather than strategic vision.
There is a need for a more strategic and community driven vision for Aspley in the face of these kinds of changes and, in particular, to consider how broadband connectivity and sustainability imperatives can influence better planning and urban form in our suburb. This is particularly important given growing community frustration with development and planning processes.