A transparent design for Festival Plaza
The National Trust of South Australia views with consternation the announcement that our government plans to permit tower blocks to be built on public land adjacent to Parliament House, Old Parliament House, Adelaide Railway Station, the Festival Centre Complex and Plaza in the heart of Adelaide.
All of these buildings have been placed on the South Australian Heritage Register, affording the highest level of legal protection available under our laws. Any development affecting any of them places can proceed without referral to the Minister responsible for Heritage. We cannot envisage any reasonable result from that referral other than flat refusal. Otherwise the integrity of the entire State Register will be called into question.
It is difficult to conceive of any development higher than the level of the existing plaza that will not destroy the heritage character of the entire precinct.
For that reason, the National Trust will vigorously and vocally oppose the erection of the tower blocks on Station Road. These buildings will irrevocably damage the historic facades and vistas which previous development aimed to preserve.
Although our primary concern is preservation of the existing heritage character, we also oppose the use of public land to create a source of private profits through the erection of office or hotel premises. The experience of similar developments in the past gives us no cause for confidence.
Adelaide’s public land belongs to all of us. It is not the Government’s to give away through a process completely lacking in transparency. The only thing that does seem transparent at the moment are the two new buildings themselves, looking at the mock up released by the Government.
Before this project is approved there needs to be an honest, independent assessment of its impact on public access and amenity in the Plaza space. The proposed towers will undoubtedly reduce both. They also seriously compromise the heritage character of this area, once the cradle of democracy and representative government in this State.
A number of people have questioned who wins in this proposal:
Even the Property Council has questioned the need for more office space within the CBD.
For an extensive examinaition of the project’s background see Hendrik Gout’s story on Today Tonight
What do you think?