Milton House View Protection Snags Kings Row Approval

The ambitious four-tower Kings Row project proposed for the Milton riverfront has hit a roadblock over protecting sightlines to the heritage-listed Milton House. 

Read: Milton Residents Voice Concerns Over Billionaire Developer’s Ambitious Project

Developer Shayher Alliance seeks to transform the Coronation Drive site into a mixed urban village, but the plan’s scale has drawn scrutiny from state and local entities.

The State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) postponed its ruling on the 37-storey towers until April amidst worries of obstructed views of the Milton House from the Brisbane River. 

Milton House (Photo credit: Heritage Branch/Queensland Heritage Register)

Constructed from 1852-1853, Milton House served as the residence of pioneering Brisbane chemist Ambrose Eldridge and his politically active family until 1855. 

The landmark home located at McDougall St, was then sold to pastoralist John Frederick McDougall, who expanded the estate and leased it out to a series of prominent tenants, such as Arthur Manning, the Colonial Under-Secretary, Henry Walsh, MLC and speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and James Crombie.

Milton House, Milton, ca. 1870. Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland 

SARA asked Shayher for more time to evaluate compliance with heritage codes safeguarding the colonial homestead’s visibility.

Meanwhile, Brisbane City Council has resumed discussions with Shayher after the company paused the development application process in late December. Over 120 public submissions objected to the proposal’s size, lack of greenspace, traffic impacts and interference with views.

Artist’s impression of heritage view from Coronation Drive (Photo credit: Urbis)

Greens MP Stephen Bates echoed similar community concerns, applauding council officers for highlighting issues like obscured sightlines to Mount Coot-tha. 

Residents also argued that the 30 to 37-storey height violates the City Plan and the Milton Neighbourhood Plan, conflicting with zoning intentions. 

Photo credit: Urbis

Responding to such objections, Urbis, on behalf of the developer, conceded exceeding area building limits but rationalised the towers as suitably bridging Brisbane’s CBD with outer regions amidst the city’s housing shortage.

Photo credit: Urbis

Shayher defended the project in the application as a landmark design suitably transitioning from Brisbane’s CBD whilst providing needed housing.

Read: Historic Homes in Brisbane: Milton House

The $300 million vision would transform 14,780 sqm into a retail plaza surrounded by 30-37 storey towers combining public riverfront access with units, sports facilities and shops. But unlocking Milton’s river edge hinges on satisfying worries about dwarfed heritage vistas. After almost a year in review, the future of the Kings Row project remains clouded by the past.

Published 12-February-2024 

Residents Express Dismay Over a Plan to Demolish a Rundown Pre-1911 House in Milton

Concerned residents oppose the plan to knock down a pre-1911 house on Sackville St, Milton to make way for a new development despite it being “structurally unsound”.

Brisbane City Council gave the green light to demolish the rundown dwelling at 8 Sackville St, Milton which was sold for $890,000 in November 2021. The heritage house shows extensive mould and termite damage with vegetation growth around its walls extending to the roof. The owners said that it would cost almost $350,000 to restore the house and make it safe to live in.

A community group, however, expressed opposition to the plan stating that heritage homes fall into a state of disrepair because of neglect and owners use its derelict state and the high cost of fixing the damage to convince the council to allow its demolition. The group said that Brisbane is losing heritage homes one by one through demolition and that laws protecting pre-1911 homes are “weak”.

The cost to restore the home, they say, may not be that “excessive” after all considering that fixing it and even raising it to add a new build underneath could help increase its value. And many similar homes in the neighbourhood, they say, were actually successfully restored and the same could be done for the pre-1911 house on Sackville Street.

Meanwhile, a social researcher said such a case is an example of the increasing problem in Brisbane where more and more people are coming in but many lots have heritage homes on them that are not built for subdivision to accommodate such growth. 

He said that whilst it would be more convenient, especially for owners who couldn’t afford the cost of restoration, to knock down a rundown post-war home, it might be wise to at least keep “some key aspects of the home” because more and more investors are “looking for history” and older-style homes are very appealing to them.

Most of all, there is greater value in keeping these heritage homes for the next generation to appreciate, he said.