IPSWICH is rightly celebrated for its built heritage and famed for its Colonial, Federation, and timber and-tin architecture.
Like so many residents, I’m passionate about the special places and spaces of historic and cultural significance across our city that help anchor our identity.
For more than 30 years, Ipswich City Council has had a program, informed by two heritage studies in the 1990s, that seeks to protect heritage properties and retain goodquality character buildings.
This program was among the earliest in Queensland to provide extensive heritage controls that, in conjunction with passionate and dedicated council planning and heritage officers, has seen more than 7,500 properties protected over the last three decades.
While this program has been well lauded, including by the Queensland Heritage Council, it’s important we don’t rest on those laurels when it comes to our heritage.
Over the last two years – through conversations with residents, property owners and council officers – I’ve become increasingly concerned about potential gaps and blind spots in the protection of our built heritage.
These concerns deepened during the consideration of protections available to prominent buildings such as Carroll House in Goodna and the Madsen Close Water Tower in Eastern Heights.
As the first councillor to represent Ipswich on the Queensland Heritage Council, I’m conscious of the heritage issues faced by other local governments and have seen that while our local heritage protections are among the best, they are due for review and refinement.
As chair of council’s Ipswich Central Redevelopment Committee, I am acutely aware of the challenges cities face as they change and grow, and the tension between preserving the vital heritage at their foundation while providing new opportunities for people to live, work and play.
With council currently drafting the new Ipswich Planning Scheme – the most significant update to our city’s planning framework in 15 years – now is the time to reconsider the protections afforded to our heritage places and to bring our heritage program into the modern era.
Over the last two years, I’ve met with council officers to discuss how built heritage can be protected in our new planning scheme.
While not every building can or should be protected, it is critical that our planning controls for character protection are fit for purpose, reasonable, and reflective of community expectations.
My Notice of Motion to the September council meeting sought to address heritage issues that have arisen through the drafting process including options to expand protection informed by updated heritage studies that build on past good work while identifying potential gaps and blind spots in our protections.
My hope is that these improvements can remove the need for last-minute reactive and ad hoc measures that leave our built heritage vulnerable.
We have so much heritage to be proud of, and so much heritage to protect.
It’s crucial that we get this right for our community, our city, and our built heritage.
NOTE: Cr Doyle is a Councillor for Division 3 of Ipswich City Council, Chair of its Ipswich Central Redevelopment Committee, and is a member of the Queensland Heritage Council