The Qld Planning and Environment Court has yet again overruled Brisbane City Council refusal to allow the demolition of a supposed ‘character’ house, in this instance for redevelopment into two lots. 

Judge Catherine Muir said in her judgement .. “As the above analysis reveals, the house makes a nominal contribution to the traditional building character of the street [or area] and does not individually or collectively [with other houses] contribute to the traditional building character or traditional character of the street [or area],”  “I am satisfied that the demolition of the house will not result in unwarranted material loss of traditional building character in any relevant sense and therefore that the appeal ought to be allowed.”‘

The Appellants argued the demolition at 56-58 MacDonald Street in Norman Park would not result in “any meaningful or significant loss of traditional building character in the streets or its surrounds”.

Council contended the house should be protected because “its demolition would result in an unacceptable loss of traditional building character from MacDonald Street”.  It argued the house, which last sold for $1.5 million, was “precisely the type of dwelling house” the traditional building character overlay was intended to protect.

An expert for the council described the house as a fine example of 1930s Georgian-style traditional building character. It was described as a lowset home with a tiled pyramidal roof on build, on land of 830 square metres.  The expert said it had a plain, symmetrical façade, a central entry, flanked on either side by multi-paned windows, and a distinctive portico front entry with timber columns.

After visiting the property, Muir found the house, its view largely obscured from the road by decades-old vegetation, did not display the typical characteristics identified in the planning scheme policy as elements of traditional building character for a range of reasons, including that it had no “core with an attached or integrated verandas”, and had a “slab-on-ground construction, rather than being raised above the ground on timber supports”.  It also had a setback about double that of nearby pre-1947 houses.

Sources:  Ficca & ors v Brisbane City Council [2022] QPEC 52 and

This decision follows on from an earlier similar matter we reported at

again highlighting Market Valuations of historic or character homes potentially subject to heritage type restrictions can be challenging.

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