Tamworth's council has moved to make sure the city doesn't build any "bland" "concrete boxes" in the CBD, getting ahead of an anticipated investment boom.
That's according to Tamworth Mayor Col Murray, who said he firmly supported moves to give the body the power to consider aesthetics when approving new projects in the CBD.
He said council needs "to ensure that we don't have large concrete boxes built in our CBD," he said.
"I think we've got a classic example fronting Peel Street at the southern end of the city opposite the existing velodrome.
"We've got a large, bland concrete structure that I think in most people's view would be quite unattractive."
The council's existing local environmental plan doesn't allow council to refuse a development in the city centre which doesn't live up to architectural design standards, according to a report presented to council at its Tuesday meeting.
The council is preparing to develop a new local environmental plan within about a year.
But that's not quick enough for Cr Murray, who said the city is on the "early end of an investment cycle into the city".
The mayor hinted at major developments on the horizon, without identifying any in particular.
"There appears to be a lot of investment interest in this city," he said.
Council planners Gina Vereker and Genevieve Harrison proposed a fast-tracked solution on Tuesday night: writing to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment asking for an amendment to the old planning scheme.
Their proposal was approved unanimously at the council meeting.
The amendment will allow council to require new developments in the CBD area be built to a "high standard of architectural design, materials and detailing appropriate to the building type and location".
They will also be entitled to consider "whether the development detrimentally impacts on view corridors" in the approval process, among other aesthetic considerations.
If signed off by the state government, the planning proposal will be put on public exhibition.
The proposal has been welcomed by both developers and a local historian.
Formline Managing Director Stephen McDonald said the plan sounded like a step in the right direction and suited the council's Blueprint 100 vision for the city.
Heritage consultant and Tamworth Historical Society historian Melinda Gill said the city had made major inroads in preserving heritage in the last 20 years, but still needed to protect landmarks like the Post Office, the Tudor Hotel and the Imperial Hotel, among others.
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