Redevelopment of Keswick Barracks is not new and it remains premature.

Our Mayor was recently caught up in a public conversation about Redevelopment of Keswick Barracks. Discussions on redevelopment of this site is not new and it remains premature. 


Keswick Barracks & Surrounds Urban Design Framework

Keswick Barracks & Surrounds Urban Design Framework

In my blog post of 21 March I indicated we were not involved with any discussions. I also acknowledged that there was some chatter at Council some 6 or so years ago.

My memory was reasonable but lacked detail.

I can now say that redevelopment of Keswick Barracks is not new and it remains premature. It was then and it is now. As I indicated in my blog post of 21 March, until and unless the Department for Defence wants to quit the property, and talk is indeed premature.

The discussion, on checking, was actually 9 years ago. As it was, it wasn’t just a casual chat. It was a formal study. A study called Keswick Barracks and Surrounds Urban Design Framework.

We finalised a discussion commenced by the previous Council to my election in 2010. A discussion that was in fact a precinct study of the area. Not just the area of the Barracks but including the (then) Le Cornu site, the Showgrounds site and across the road into the City of West Torrens, and the Interstate Railway Depot.

The study explored development potential. It also recognised the heritage value of the precinct. Heritage, both cultural and defence. In so doing, it promoted how to protect and enhance that heritage.

Work progressed through 2009 with a preliminary study and a final Urban Design Framework in 2010, presented and adopted by council in April 2011. We undertook discussions with strategic partners including a range of government agencies, adjacent large land owners and major developer stakeholders to gauge their views on the future of the precinct.

This clear framework is invaluable if opportunities do arise. We trust that if or whenever opportunities may arise in the future, that Council will be included in the conversation. Only then can we have any assurance that sensible redevelopment of Keswick Barracks can be achieved.


Changes in Development Rules the Flavour of the Month

Yes! It certainly seems that changes in Development Rules is the Flavour of the Month. It is not enough that we have to contend with the Planning & Design Code. Or the Development Plan Amendment in Everard Park.


In recent weeks we have had to deal with a flurry of suggestions for how the old Anzac Highway Le Cornu site could be redeveloped. That was triggered of course by the departure from Australia of the current land owner, Kaufland.

The Mayor & Keswick Barracks

Picture from Advertiser Article quoted herein

Then, a short while ago, Theo Maras was quoted in the press with ideas for the site adjacent, the Keswick Barracks site. Today I see our Mayor dragged into considering what could be on that site.

That storey, by the Advertiser, can be found here.

The Keswick Barracks is owned by the Commonwealth Government, via the Department for Defence. They have no desire to sell off the land. My information is that they are so focused on keeping their land holding that they are upgrading it.


So why are we having this discussion when there is plenty to keep us occupied right now?


First up, with all Council is focused on right now, let me tell you that Council is not participating in the discussion. We are aware of the Maras proposal. It runs similar to observations made some 6 or so years ago when the previous State Government were promoting the TOD approach to the need for development pal changes.

There was some personal chatter between members of the Council of that day, as you might expect because it is topical. There was no formal discussion however as the Commonwealth, as now, indicated no desire to sell.

When the time comes to have a discussion, it will be driven by the State Government and not Council. Whether Council gets a chance to contribute or not at that time is problematic in any case. We are all waiting on the Government’s public consultation to the Planning & Design Code. Part of this will be to see if Councils will have an opportunity into looking at changes to the Code when proposed.

We have enough to deal with right now with the changes in Development Rules we are already dealing with. I hope therefore that we can be allowed to focus on what we can influence and/or control.