Barossa, McLaren Vale character landscapes remain locked away under preservation laws
The South Australian planning minister Vickie Chapman has confirmed that the legislation protecting both the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale character preservation areas will remain unchanged.
The decision was informed in part by a comprehensive review that determined that the 'Greater Adelaide' metropolitan area had adequate land available for expansion in other directions so as not to need to reach into McLaren Vale wine district in the city's south, and the Barossa Valley in its outer north-east.
The government indicated to FlowNews24 that a study by PlanSA confirms there is adequate zoned land supply for the short to medium term in areas such as Roseworthy, Buckland Park and Two Wells.
In the long-term, the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide maps the direction for future urban growth, and navigates around the Barossa and McLaren Vale preservation districts and other important farming areas.
FlowNews24 understands that recent proposals to promote international tourist stays in the Barossa, such as the Oscar Seppelt high-rise building at Seppeltsfield within the Barossa protection zone, are not likely to run afoul of the protection laws as they are designed to promote the character being preserved.
Asked about the recent saga regarding the Keyneton wind farm development proposed within the Barossa preservation area in the Eden Valley, a state government spokesperson said:
"The legislation does not specifically speak for or against wind farms. However, there are stronger assessment policies to control visual impacts of buildings and structures in these areas compared to within other rural areas out of the State, with any restricted development, such as wind farms, requiring public consultation and State Planning Commission assessment.
The Marshall Liberal government recently revoked the approval for the Keyneton project to go ahead due to the lengthy delay in the proponent acting upon its approval.
Were another such wind farm proposal to be put forward within either preservation district, the government said it would have additional hurdles to overcome:
"The project area for the previously proposed Keyneton windfarm fell within a Rural Zone and Character Preservation District. If the same project were proposed, it would be considered a restricted form of development. It would require public consultation, be assessed by the Commission and attract third party appeal rights.
Just outside the Barossa character preservation zone, the Twin Creek wind farm near Mount Rufus will - if constructed - be visible from the Valley. The project was granted approval on 25 October 2019 but, like the ill-fated Keyneton project, had not commenced construction by mid-2021.
The state government has confirmed that while the character preservation legislation itself does not protect what is visible from within the region, the visible impacts are meant to be relevant in planning considerations:
"There are general policies within the Code that guide the assessment of visual impacts of structures like wind farms.
"The planning rules are applied based on where the development is physically proposed, however, there are policies to guide the assessment of visual impacts of structures like wind farms.