Ipswich City Council is expected to make a decision next month on a development application for a new childcare centre at Karalee, following a public hearing of the Independent Decision Review Panel (IDRP).
Four submitters representing Karalee residents were able to voice their concerns about the development application to the panel during the hour-long hearing on Thursday 14 October.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding, who also attended the IDRP, said the panel hearing was a way to bring greater transparency to the assessment process and create an opportunity for the community to voice their concerns.
“This is only the second time since the IDRP was introduced in 2019 that a development application had been referred to a public panel hearing,” Mayor Harding said.
“Given the response from the Karalee community to this application, Council felt it was important they had the opportunity to voice their concerns and hear directly from the applicant.”
The panel was made up of three independent experts, including town planner and chairperson Kate Isles, economist Shelley McCormack and traffic engineer Dale Kleimeyer.
Ms Isles commended the quality of presentations from the applicant and submitters, saying the issues had been “addressed in a clear, succinct and concise way”.
Ms Isles said the panel would formulate its views on whether it agreed with council officers’ recommendations and provide its report for Council to consider ahead of a final decision at the 18 November meeting.
The public hearing was recorded and live-streamed and is now available on Council’s Youtube channel here to allow interested parties to view the proceedings.
The development application was submitted to Council in March 2021 and was originally proposed for 116 children and 20 staff.
In response to matters raised by Council, the applicant amended the proposal to reduce the capacity of the centre to 100 children and 17 staff, reduce the building size to one storey and increase on-site car parking.
Council had responded to the strong response received from the Karalee community by referring the application to the IDRP.