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New east end complex proposal puts "nasty hangouts" in spotlight


A 36-storey hotel complex proposed for Frome Street has brought Adelaide City Council debate on city laneways to a potential flashpoint, with one councillor describing many privately-owned thoroughfares as “nasty hangouts” that need overhauling.

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The development – which, if approved, would tower over the east end of Frome Street, where the Rhino Room currently sits – would require public access to Tavistock Lane, a proposal council will consider tonight. It would also include a 21-storey student accommodation building next to Synagogue Place.

But Area Councillor Natasha Malani told InDaily she was concerned about the broader issue of poorly-maintained laneways, and said the council had no idea who owns some of around 130 private laneways and alleyways across the square mile.

“If they’re dark … people find syringes, people find all sorts of rubbish,” she said.

“Nasty hangouts for activities that we don’t want in laneways – it’s not a city [feature] that we want to have.”

Malani wants council staff to identify the owners of all the laneways and investigate whether there is anything the authority can do to encourage better “public realm” and “vibrancy” where lanes and alleys are poorly maintained.

“Who is going to give permission if someone wants to use it for… outdoor dining?” she said.

“We can’t give permission, [and] we don’t know who can. We can’t help them, but we don’t know who to ask.”

But in some circumstances, the council has the power to intervene.

It will tonight consider beginning the process of taking over Tavistock Lane, off Frome Street (pictured above).

A council committee will consider a recommendation to turn it into a public lane so that developers can prepare it for the proposed hotel and apartments complex, which would be set in front of the existing eight-storey car park, set back from Frome Street.

Developer Kyren Pty Ltd made an application with the Development Assessment Commission to develop the land last month.

A spokesperson for the company said the application was in its “early stages” and declined to comment further.

Malani said she was not across the detail of the development application, but said it would be “positive for the East End to have some active development in that area, as long as it’s good design and scale”.

“I think it’s a positive”.


A map of the proposed development. Image: ACC

A map of the proposed development. Image: ACC

According to a council spokesperson, the owner of Tavistock Lane is deceased, meaning the council has the option to ask the State Government to declare the lane publicly owned.

If that occurs, the developer would have the option of buying it back and upgrading it.

But the council won’t be forking out ratepayer cash to acquire many of Adelaide’s dingiest alleys, said Malani, because “that would kill our asset maintenance budget”.

“Lighting and good public realm activate laneways,” said Malani.

“The challenge becomes when they are … dirty, when they are [poorly] maintained.

“[But] nooks and crannies can sometimes get overlooked.

“We can’t afford to activate all of them.”

This small lane off Rundle Street was activated during the Adelaide Fringe. Photo: Jodie Vidakovic / InDaily

Not all private lanes are “nasty hangouts”: This lane off Rundle Street was activated during the Adelaide Fringe. Photo: Jodie Vidakovic / InDaily



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