Urban Design Advisory Panel

Urban Design Advisory Panel

Urban Design is the process by which we create attractive, liveable, activated, safe and easy to understand urban spaces and Cities that responds and reflects the needs of all members of society.

The Urban Design Advisory Panel was formed in October 2011 to provide independent and professional urban design advice on proposed projects within the city. The panel promotes good design and a quality urban environment.

The panel provides both pre-application advice to developers on significant developments, as well as providing advice to the Council for lodged applications.

This panel plays an integral role in the success the City has in creating itself as a place that people will want to visit, work and recreate in.

What is the Urban Design Advisory Panel?

The Panel is made up of independent professionals that provides professional and technical advice in an informal manner, to the Council and applicants in relation to the design of developments within the Municipality.

The members are appointed for a four year term.

The Panel is independent from the Council and does not make decisions. The Council is the permit authority and is responsible for determining development applications.

The Panel assist the Council with the following:

  • Providing independent expert advice and recommendations on urban design issues
  • Providing pre-application advice to developers on significant developments
  • Providing urban design advice to Council on significant planning applications and whether they meet the relevant design provisions of the planning schemes
  • Providing urban design advice to the Council on significant Council capital works projects
  • Promoting good urban design to make our communities more liveable and attractive with good connectivity
  • Recognising and protecting cultural identity and sense of space

Urban Design Advisory Panel - Terms of Reference(PDF, 97KB)

Which planning applications will the Panel consider?

Once a planning application is lodged with the Council, the Panel will be referred those proposals that meet the following criteria:

Proposals requiring planning consent that are located within the area covered by the Sullivans Cove Planning Scheme 1997 and the Hobart Interim Planning Scheme 2015 (Central Business, General Business, Commercial and Urban Mixed Use Zones and when proposed developments exceed 2000 m2 in floor area or 3 storeys in height).

The Panel will also review any City of Hobart capital works project with a value of $1 million or greater, which is intended for public use, or to which the public have regular access and that the Council or the General Manager consider would benefit from receiving urban design advice.

Or any other development that a Director considers that the Council would benefit from receiving urban design advice.

What will the Panel look at?

Design assessment criteria and or design guidelines in the relevant planning scheme will form the basis for an urban design panel review.

The elements that the Panel will normally consider include:

  • Quality of the architecture and its contextual relationship to Hobart
  • Visual appearance and design principles including scale and composition, architectural details, articulation of facades and the treatment of rooftops
  • The relationship of the proposed development to street, public spaces and adjacent buildings and to the character of surrounding areas
  • The location of activities and their relationship to streets and public spaces particularly at the ground floor
  • The design of pedestrian and vehicle entrances and access to and around buildings
  • The relationship to existing heritage buildings and significant open spaces in the vicinity
  • The amenity and quality of outdoor spaces associated with the development
  • The level of amenity for residential accommodation including outlook, sunlight access, visual and acoustic privacy, ventilation, size and design
  • The integration of publicly accessible artworks into the development
  • Circulation and servicing
  • Safety for users and pedestrians

Who is on the Panel?

The Panel is made up of six members and together bring a wealth of knowledge and real world experience in landscape architecture, planning, urban design and architecture.

The Panel:

  • Chairman with suitable urban design and public administration experience
  • The Tasmanian State Architect (currently vacant)
  • Member who currently holds an academic position in urban design
  • Nomination from the Tasmanian - Australian Institute of Architects
  • Nomination from the Tasmanian - Australian Institute of Landscape Architects
  • Member with both planning and urban design expertise

All members are required to declare if they have a conflict of interest and may not take part in any panel meeting for which they have declared a conflict of interest.

Current members

Scott Balmforth

Position: Chairman - Urban design and public administration experience

Scott Balmforth

Scott Balmforth was born and raised in Hobart and is a founding Director of TERROIR. The practice was established in Hobart and Sydney simultaneously in 1999 and expanded internationally with TERROIR ApS in Copenhagen in 2010.

Scott graduated from the University of Tasmania and has an invited Masters of Architecture from RMIT University. He is a Registered Architect in Tasmania and Victoria, a former Australian Institute of Architects Chapter Councillor, and an Adjunct Professor of the University of Tasmania's School of Architecture since 2008.

Scott has led a range of innovative, award winning and internationally published architecture and urban design projects, and consistently champions in his work the place-based values and influences of his Tasmanian upbringing.

Appointed Chairman in late 2020, Scott brings to the City of Hobart's Urban Design Advisory Panel a unique local-to-global outlook, recognised design expertise, the ability to draw on local, national and international relationships and experience, and a strong advocacy to the City's future.

Yvette Breytenbach

Position: Member from the Tasmanian Chapter Institute of Architects

Yvette Breytenbach

Yvette Breytenbach is a registered Tasmanian architect and a director of Morrison & Breytenbach Architects, Hobart. From 2017 – 2019 she filled the positions of President of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Tasmanian Chapter, National Councillor on the AIA National Council and member of the Board of Architects Tasmania, a consumer protection body. She is a Tasmanian examiner for the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) Architectural Practice Examination (APE), and an advocate for gender equity in the construction industry.

Yvette has been a jurist for the ACT Chapter AIA Annual Awards (2019), the Tasmanian Chapter AIA Emerging Architect Award (2017, 2018), the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) Annual Awards (2007), and the Tasmanian Chapter AIA Annual Awards (2003).

She grew up in South Africa, graduated from the University of Witwatersrand in 1980 with a Bachelor of Architecture and practised in Johannesburg and Cape Town on residential, social housing and urban design projects. In 1988, she completed a Social Science Honours degree at the University of Cape Town. From 1989 she worked on a range of architectural projects in Cambridge, U.K., while completing a Certificate of Fine and Applied Art in Ceramics at the City of London Polytechnic. A lifelong interest in ceramics translates to her architectural delight in the use of materials, texture and play of scale, as well as of carefully crafted buildings and spaces.

With her husband, architect James Morrison, Yvette migrated to Australia and settled in Hobart in 1991, setting up their architecture practice in 1992. Morrison & Breytenbach Architects has subsequently been recognised with multiple awards both locally and internationally, including in the arts, educational, residential, university and social housing sectors. The practice has delivered two 6-star Green Star "as-built" Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) certified buildings in Tasmania and integrates a strong social and environmentally sustainable focus into their work.

Yvette brings a voice for appropriate development of our built environment for the betterment of all Tasmanians. She advocates for protection of our built, natural and cultural heritage, equity in the built environment, people-focused quality design, and innovation that supports industry growth and a strong sustainable economy.

Ian James

Position: Member with Urban Design Experience

Ian James

Ian James is a qualified architect who has over 40 years professional experience as an urban designer, mostly within local government and private practice within Western Australia.

As Senior Urban Designer and then Urban Development Manager at the City of Perth, Ian was involved in a wide range of major city and local centre projects including the Forrest Place/Perth Station Redevelopment and the Swan River foreshore study and international design competition.

More recently Ian was the Strategic Urban Designer at the City of Fremantle where he was involved in leading significant urban design and planning initiatives aimed at revitalising the city centre of Fremantle while carefully protecting the City's renowned heritage and cultural assets.

Ian relocated to Hobart in 2017 and was first appointed to the Urban Design Advisory Panel in 2018. He was re-appointed for a further three year term in November 2020.

Ian believes in the importance of good urban design analysis of the site and its context as one of the keys to a successful project. Buildings frame and enclose city centre streets and public spaces. Ian is particularly interested in how new development will influence the visual character, vitality and amenity of the City's public domain.

Helen Norrie

Position: Member with Academic Position in Urban Design

Helen Norrie

Dr Helen Norrie is a Senior Lecture in Architecture Design at the University of Tasmania. She has been an architectural critic for architecture, design and art journals for 25 years, and has authored catalogue essays for art and design exhibitions.

Helen is the founder of the Regional Urban Studies Laboratory (RUSL), a collaborative practice-led urban design research project that engages directly with local councils and communities to examine urban issues in small towns and cities. RUSL undertakes collaborative research that examines the spatial, temporal and social aspect of urban settlements, focusing on the intersection of development, planning and urban design. Drawing on spatial and data analysis, and evidence-based research she and the RUSL team develop speculative scenarios to explore how current policy frameworks can impede or promote new development that provides positive urban design outcomes.

Susan Small

Position: Member from the Tasmanian Chapter of Landscape Architects

Susan Small

Sue runs a Landscape Architecture practice from central Hobart, lives in an inner city suburb and has interests in rural Tasmania.

She enjoys working within the historic layers that comprise Hobart's character. Her practice places a high priority on acknowledging environmental and heritage values, while at the same time accommodating the practical and aesthetic needs of people occupying the built environment. Sue believes in using design principles to enrich the experience of users through sensitive, functional and creative development.

In her practice Sue has undertaken many and varied development works in public spaces, in national parks, in urban, suburban, public and private subdivision developments, inner city unit development and independent living unit projects in many parts of Tasmania. She has also had extensive experience in undertaking landscape assessments, providing management recommendations and design solutions for public and private clients.

It is central to the approach of her practice to develop interesting, legible and comfortable external areas around buildings. She believes this encourages users of buildings and to spend more time outside - relaxing, contemplating, socialising, and enjoying the sensory effects of nature, all leading to healthier social outcomes.

Sue has been a member of Urban Design Advisory Panel for the last three years as the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects representative. She was re-appointed for a further three year term in November 2020.

Leigh Woolley

Position: Member with Urban Design Experience

Leigh Woolley

Leigh is a Tasmanian Architect with over 35 years professional experience as an architectural and urban design practitioner. He provides design and consultancy services to private clients and all levels of government, within architecture and associated design disciplines, particularly urban design. He is the recipient of numerous professional design awards across these disciplines.

The author of critically acclaimed studies considering the landscape of the city and the role of settlement in 'revealing' place, his practice has contributed to the development of urban design policy in Greater Hobart over the past four decades. Recently he authored the nationally awarded 'Building Heights Standards Review' for the Hobart City Council - a framework for shaping density in the city centre.

His photography is held in state and national collections and is part of his working method. He is a Churchill Fellow and Adjunct Professor in Architecture and Design (UTAS) and practices from Hobart.

Can I request a meeting prior to lodging a plan?

Yes, this is referred to as a pre-application enquiry.

We recommend applicants take up the offer to present to the Panel at this early stage. It provides a structured forum in which critical issues can be raised earlier in the development process, helping applicants to make well-informed decisions about the design development of proposals prior to lodgement. This may assist in reducing the assessment times of the application.

To request a meeting please email udappanel@hobartcity.com.au or contact our City Planning division on 03 6238 2711.

What will happen at the meeting?

Once a meeting date and time has been confirmed, you will be provided with some information about what you need to provide. To assist with your preparations please download and read the Urban Design Advisory Panel Checklist(PDF, 18KB).

Confirmation for the meeting will be sent out to the Panel members one week before the panel meeting date. Meetings are not open to the public.

At the meeting you will be given an opportunity to present your proposal to the Panel. Normally the Panel allows 15 minutes for each presentation. At the end of your presentation, each member may ask questions, seeking clarification of your proposal.

A 3D model of the proposed development will be inserted into Council's 3D city-wide model and presented to the Panel. The applicant can also use the 3D model to clarify their design intent during the meeting.

Once your presentation and questions have concluded, you will be asked to leave the meeting and the panel will review and discuss your proposal.

Is there a cost associated with the meeting?

The fee associated with a pre-application is $2137. If a planning application is lodged for the same proposal (or substantially the same), then this fee would be reimbursed after that application has been made.

There is currently no cost to applicants for the meeting if the planning application has been lodged with Council.

There is also a cost associated with accessing the advice service if 3D modelling services is required. Please refer to Council's fees and charges for 3D GIS Services.

For further enquiries, please contact the Urban Design Advisory Panel – Administrative Coordinator by emailing udappanel@hobartcity.com.au.

Pre-application meeting schedule

Applicants are encouraged to arrange a pre-application meeting with a Council planning officer prior to lodging a formal planning application. A pre-application meeting will help determine what information is needed for an application, identify any design issues and whether the proposal complies with the requirements of the Planning Scheme.

Plans to be submitted to the City Pre-application meeting dates
Monday 30 October 2023 Tuesday 14 November 2023
Monday 27 November 2023 Tuesday 12 December 2023


To request a meeting, complete the online form or contact our City Planning division on 03 6238 2711.