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Top Brisbane school has privacy concerns about planned green apartment tower

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Queensland’s most prestigious public school, Brisbane State High, has expressed concerns about the impact of a proposed new 30-level apartment block next to its South Brisbane campus, saying it is worried about students’ privacy as well as noise from construction.

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Aria Property Group plans to build what it has dubbed the “world’s greenest residential building” at a site on Merivale and Glenelg Sts, boasting the finished structure would have more than 1000 trees and 20,000 plants.

Revealed with much fanfare when Aria lodged a development application with Brisbane City Council last year, the planned building has delighted many urban planners with its ambition to achieve a “green spine” linking South Bank Parklands with Musgrave Park.

However, the proposed development – yet to receive council approval – has also attracted many critics, who say its height and scale would be in breach of the Brisbane City Plan and local neighbourhood plan.

Among those expressing concern is Brisbane State High School, whose campus sits across the road from the building site. State High is Australia’s second largest high school with more than 3360 students.

The school’s general manager Christine Collins and executive principal Wade Haynes have told the council they are concerned about the disruption to studies caused by construction and the potential invasions of student privacy.

If it is approved at its planned 30 storeys, the building will tower over the school’s buildings, including one used for open air classrooms and study on its roof.

“We feel that there will be a lack of privacy for these open air classes and teaching and learning will be impacted,” Collins and Haynes wrote in a submission on the development application.

They also point out that residents would be able to “see” into the school’s playgrounds from the new building.

“We feel that the school community could sense that they are being constantly observed while they are outside,” the school leaders said.

The building, dubbed the Urban Forest by the developers, would include 330 apartments and 1600 square metres of public open green spaces at ground level.

“This unprecedented level of landscaping not only creates a striking building but is a dynamic, active component of the built form, increasing biodiversity and reducing the ecological footprint of the city,” documents submitted with the plan state.

The school wants the council and the developer to consider how these concerns could be mitigated in the final development.

Its submission says the school has no objection to the construction of the building if its concerns are dealt with.

The development application has attracted nearly 900 submissions so far, with several local residents and bodies corporate of nearby apartment developments objecting to its scale.

Aria has recently submitted to council a draft construction management plan for early works associated with the development.

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