Breaking through: town planning in Launceston 1956-1976
Enthusiasts in Launceston, the second biggest city in Tasmania, had pushed the virtues of town planning between 1915 and 1945 without much success because of a lack of effective legislation and of town planning expertise. The advent of the Town Planning Act 1944 and of the advice given by successive Town and County Planning Commissioners provided new impetus to discussion of town planning ideas and sometimes to action. For example, in 1956 the Launceston City Council adopted a Tentative Zoning
... a Tentative Zoning Scheme, but did not submit the scheme for the provisional approval of the Town and Country Planning Commissioner Neil Abercrombie. This meant that the scheme could not legally be placed before the public for the statutory period of 3 months for comment and criticism. From the early 1960s, with agitation from businessmen and professionals, grew a general desire to prepare a formal Town Planning Scheme. This was begun in August 1967 after the appointment of English trained Colin J. Taylor as Town Planning Officer and was completed in 1969, but after lengthy public debate and revision was not finally adopted until 1976. In addition to the Town Planning Scheme, Council investigated the feasibility of a civic square and malls; commissioned a Launceston Area Transportation Study; planned for future recreational needs; and established an up-to-date Town Planning Department. This was an unprecedented period of town planning activity in Launceston and this paper will explain why and assess what impact the various proposals had on this important regional city.