VISION: Luke Anderson from PRD real estate. Picture: Jonathan CarrollImaginefive or six storey buildings in High Street with commercial premises on the ground floor and apartments with views overthe Hunter River on top.
It’s the vision of PRD Nationwide Hunter Valley principal Luke Anderson, who wants to see building heights in the CBD increased.
While there areno height restrictions on buildings in Central Maitland apart from in a pocket of land bordered by Elgin, Highand Church Streets, theCentral Maitland Structure Plan saysbuilding heights in Central Maitland are “homogeneous” and described as low – medium.
“This is the legacy of the intact heritage building fabric which are between one and three storeys,” the plan states.
The height of buildings is determined by factors such as heritage features of the site and area, potential flooding issues and general amenity impacts.
But PRD Nationwide Hunter Valley principal Luke Andersonsaid current building heights wereholding back Central Maitland’s potential.
“It’s great for heritage,” he said. “But I think it’s very backwards.”
Maitland Councildevelopmentenvironment manager David Simmsaid council was working towards having another 3,700 citizens in Central Maitland.
Mr Anderson said higher buildings would be the perfect way to draw people into the city.
“Council are desperate to increase the population in Central Maitland, but they’re trying to do it with their hands tied behind their backs,” he said.
Mr Anderson said in buildings of three storeys, it wasnot viable to install a lift due the financial impact it would have on strata and maintenance fees, whereas in a taller buildingit would be more feasible.
“The infrastructure to install a lift is expensive. But in a six-storey building it becomes affordable because of the economy of scale,” he said.
“A liftwould attract retirees and the sorts of people who want to live in town.
“[If building heights were increased] more people would be spending money in the CBD. It creates a lifestyle we don’t currently have.”