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Will character of Toowong be changed by student housing development?

Property industry commentators have speculated that a proposed influx of student housing in Toowong could change the character of the suburb.

Over 3,000 beds for low-cost student housing have been suggested for the area, Domain reports, which has prompted some residents to point out that this could change the nature of its appeal.

Brisbane City Council rejected claims that it would have a negative impact on general perceptions of Toowong.

Permission for the construction of a 500-plus bed development in Archer Street was applied for to the council by the Azure Development Group toward the end of last year.

These plans include a 15-storey tower, which means the application will not have to be assessed in terms of its potential impact on the local community.

Allan Larkin, founder of Aspect Property Group, raised concerns that the operators of such a building could have to move to low-cost housing to stay afloat if demand from international students declines.

"If you have too much of the wrong product in housing, you get a ghetto," he remarked, suggesting that the concept is open to poor management.

Julian Simmonds, city planning chairman, rejected these claims, emphasising the fact that there is a difference between low cost housing and a slum.

"I would certainly disagree with that categorisation and just because someone requires low cost housing, doesn't mean it's a slum," he commented.

Mr Simmonds also noted that the proposals could bring additional community benefits, such as new amenities.

"If they're built under a student housing application any changes would require further consultation with residents, further appeal rights and other requirements like car parking and the like."

According to Mr Simmonds, demand from international students is likely to increase, rather than the reverse.

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