75 dwellings jammed into old bowls club


UPDATE 9:30am Tuesday.
No public submissions have been received by the Development Consent Authority (DAC), neither for nor against this project, by end of the display period last Friday.
The application will now be considered by the DCA on Wednesday, April 16 [please note change of date]. The public session should commence at 9:45 am, at the Double Tree by Hilton.
People will be able to address the DCA from the gallery. However, formal objections to the DCA’s decisions can be made only by people who have made a submission – and there are none.
However, the developer – the applicant – is entitled to object to any decision of the DCA or to conditions it imposes. The Alice Springs News Online has received six comments since posting the story on Saturday morning.
A developer wants to squeeze 60 two-bedroom and 15 one-bedroom units into the 11,034 square metre site of the old bowling club, between Gap Road and South Terrace.
The land was recently bought by Asbuild NT Pty Ltd and architects Susan Dugdale and Associates provided a development application which was open for public comment until yesterday.
The project is in conflict with several requirements of the town plan and would need to be granted variations.
It could not be further from Central Australia’s fame for wide open spaces but hype in the “statement of effect” seeks to counter that.
“Wide landscaped internal roads are a feature of the design, these will be shady avenues of trees when the planting has grown,” says the application.
The project “contributes to a range of housing options, providing one and two-bedroom units in the ‘affordable’ price range”.
A variation is being requested to increase the density from one dwelling per 200 square metres to one dwelling per 147 square meters. In support of this it is stated the proposed dwellings “have a smaller footprint and less [sic] residents per unit than larger units with more bedrooms.
“The units are aimed at the ‘affordable’ end of the market, and the proposed number of dwellings will increase the site yield, bringing down the rental or purchase cost of individual units. This will be of general benefit to the Alice Springs community.”
The setbacks stipulated in the town plan would require setbacks between 8.5 and 10.5 metres but the developers are asking for three meters and two metres for some balconies throughout.
The applicants concede that private open spaces “do not meet the minimum requirements of the Town Plan.
“A variation is sought to have reduced areas of private open space as … the yards provided are well sized and placed as service yards for washing lines, bicycles, garden sheds, and trees for shading and screening the units … the units are one and two bedroom and so are less likely to be occupied by families with children … there is a large amount of high quality open space in the neighborhood, including the Todd River corridor adjacent.
“There is a precedent for approving multiple dwelling developments with minimal or no private open space [the application does not say where], and these meet the needs of a sector of the housing market.”
The Town Plan requires 15% of communal open space but the proposal provides only 2.5% – but that’s OK, asserts the application, again suggesting the residents can go for a walk in the Todd: “There is a large amount of open space in the neighborhood, particularly the Todd River corridor across the road on the South Terrace boundary.”
Again the application evokes images the grand boulevards of Europe: “The amenity of the development is greatly enhanced by landscaping at the entry area, and wide internal roads with avenues of trees which encourage walking, and will provide a pleasant outlook from all units when the trees have gained some growth.
“The recreational area provided is very well located in the centre of the development, is protected with a high degree of passive surveillance, and will be developed with 2 shade and BBQ areas for use by residents.”
So far as the paltry communal open space is concerned, again, having kids is not encouraged: “The units are … less likely to be occupied by families with children who are more likely to utilise communal open space.
“A multiple dwelling development with minimal communal open space will still meet the needs of a sector of the housing market.” That sector, it seems, is the fly-in, fly-out workforce.
Public safety would be enhanced through “increasing casual surveillance of South Terrace and Gap Road by adding more residents to the area, generating activity and more vehicle movements.
“A number of the two-bedroom units overlook South Terrace, also contributing to passive surveillance of this area.
“The proposed internal roads are wide, landscaped mixed-use spaces that combine the functions of vehicle and pedestrian access, bin stores, and visitor parking, so will generate a lot of activity. The balconies of all units overlook the internal roads, contributing to the liveliness of the public spaces.”
It sounds like living in the Bowling Green will be a bundle of fun!
The Alice Springs News Online has contacted Asbuild NT Pty Ltd to offer the right of reply.


  1. What about the noise and heat from all those air conditioners! Glad I don’t have to live there.

  2. Remember that Melanka was set up originally set up to house the workers brought here by the government to hose trades and the like to build the Alice. If the goal of affordable housing, although high density, is achieved by a very good local architect, go for it.

  3. As long as the internal road system allows for easy access by emergency vehicles – think ambulance, fire and police – then why not? And let’s not forget about rubbish collection.
    I know lack of adequate internal roads hampered the development approval of the old drive-in.
    The architect is renowned for her good designs, and Alice can likely use the additional living spaces. While crowded it doesn’t sound much different from apartment living.

  4. This appalling development must be rejected.
    It is assumed that young families with kids will not live there because the development is not suitable for them. In reality they will certainly live there because this will be low cost housing and they can’t afford to live elsewhere.
    This proposal is a blatant example of profiteering at the expense of those at the bottom of the housing ladder.
    It is also a terrible precedent, if this is approved then the floodgates for similar appalling ghettos will be wide open.
    No matter how good Susan Dugdale and Associates are it is simply not possible to translate the specifications of this project (maximise units in defined space irrespective of planning regulations) into a liveable environment.

  5. In late 2010 I wrote a front page article in the Alice Springs News on this theme, in which I highlighted how the Eastside Residents Association was involved in the planning process for the units built on the south corner of Renner Street and Sturt Terrace during 2005. I was a member of the executive committee of the ERA at the time.
    The result was an outstanding success, leading to the construction of high density accommodation that nevertheless is aesthetically pleasing and has been a highly desired residential location now for nearly two decades. I believe this is the only such development in Alice Springs that encouraged participation from a group of people who had no direct financial interest in the building project.
    Subsequent to 2010 the block on the opposite corner of Renner Street and Sturt Terrace has also been redeveloped into high density accommodation. There was no public input with this project, certainly not along the lines of extensive consultation with the local neighbourhood.
    The contrast between the two complexes could hardly be greater – the earlier development is comparatively spacious and sheltered, the latter is a concrete enclave. It’s euphemistically called “Renner on Todd” – I’m of two minds whether to liken it to an army barracks or a “correctional facility”!
    I’ve no problem with the development of higher density housing at the old Alice Springs Bowling Club site but I certainly don’t support the current proposal.
    This project needs to go straight back to the drawing board, and I suggest the developers and architects make the effort to encourage input from the local neighbourhood, as (based on my experience) the result is likely to be far more pleasing for everyone concerned.

  6. Ridiculously high density accommodation for remote Alice – more suited to New York. People here are surely entitled to a little space.

  7. So where do the children play when there is nothing but “acres of tar and cement”? This one has certainly slipped through the public net!
    This proposal goes too far with the variation process under the planning scheme by targeting community space rather than looking at height alternatives, diversity in the building forms and addressing the wonderful Todd River.
    I have not seen the proposal in detail but shudder to think what sort of lifestyle the residents of this regimented development are going to experience.
    If this is what affordable living has come to in the wide open spaces of Central Australia then high rise may be a serious contender in order to retain a connection with the landscape and create livable spaces at street level.
    It will take 15 years plus for the “avenues” of tree canopy to grow before it will fix some of the street quality, privacy and heat gain issues.
    Surely this proposal won’t get the approval of the Planning Authority because of some political will? If it does will be a sad day for high density living in Alice Springs!
    I know Sue can do better than this and look forward to seeing greater design potential achieved on this important site.

  8. A correction to my earlier posting – the development of the south corner of Renner Street and Sturt Terrace was in 1995, not 2005. My memory usually serves me well but sometimes what happened in the more distant past still seems to me like it only happened yesterday! Quite coincidentally, I reside next door to this location.

  9. It will be very nice. It depends on the people.
    If it is only for the drugs and druggies and the neglected children it will turn into a slum. As long as they do not let welfare people in as they wreck places and burn them.

  10. I think development in the Gap area is excellent. People can walk to town and the age of the quarter acre block is long gone. It also helps the area reenergise itself as a new Glebe area of Alice Springs. Let the buying public choose if they want to move from Cycad Crescent!


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