In 2017, Brisbane City Council released the Draft Brisbane Industrial Strategy to address the increasing demand and limited supply of land available for industrial development in the region. But is the strategy too little, too late? And what does it mean for developers?
Over the past property cycle, the demand for land for residential development outstripped existing supply. This demand led to the majority of residential projects throughout Brisbane taking place in infill sites, including those encroaching on industrial zones.
Council’s Draft Industrial Strategy acknowledges that as the residential property boom eases and focus turns to growing demand for land for industrial development, the proximity of residential developments to industrial zones – which often operate 24 hours a day – is creating challenges for Council.
With land readily available for industrial development in neighbouring Logan, Ipswich and Redland City Council, Brisbane is under increasing pressure to attract industrial development. The Draft Strategy states, “Industrial land in Brisbane is in much shorter supply than is needed to sustain existing demand… Brisbane’s future industrial growth is significantly constrained by a lack of industrial land.”
What are council planning to do about it?
The strategy outlines five key priorities:
1. Mixed use: Ensure planning and policy facilitates the right mix of employment-generating industrial and non-industrial uses to enhance the function of industrial areas.
2. Services: Improve infrastructure and services to industrial precincts, including public transport, pedestrian permeability and environments, and maximise opportunities provided by the proximity to strategic freight networks.
3. Flexibility: Continue to move towards a performance-based approach focusing on impact management rather than strict use definitions.
4. Precincts: Promote the development and growth of precincts, recognising their attributes and role in contributing to the fabric and function of industry in Brisbane and include place-making when planning for industrial areas.
5. Amenity: Foster industrial areas that are safe, well-serviced, fit-for-purpose places to work and are considerate of their interface with surrounding sensitive uses.
Source: Brisbane Industrial Strategy, Brisbane City Council.
How do these goals translate to the real world?
Reading between the lines of council’s document, several assumptions may be made on its impact to future development. In particular, council proposes to make some developments self-assessable and, for those that remain assessable, plan to amend policy to relax their strict use definitions. This will allow council to consider the location and predicted future use of sites on a case-by-case basis when granting planning permission.
However, in turn, council may require additional criteria to be met by developers. Specifically, these criteria may include: adding ancillary office space, addressing broader flood mitigation and environmental impacts, and adding additional green public spaces and convenience services such as cafes, gyms and childcare centres.
Together, council believes these goals pave a way for the future. The Strategy itself states:
“By developing a strong plan now, with a vision that looks to the future, Council is building our local economy while creating new and innovative jobs and supporting business growth, improving quality of life for residents while ensuring our city has the services and infrastructure to meet the needs of future generations.”