Barossa Valley, SA

Barossa Valley locals fight council over luxury hotel development

By The Weekender Travel

September 9, 2020 | 3 minute read

“This is NOT the Gold Coast. Just no.”

Residents of Barossa Valley are suing the local council over plans for an ultra modern high-rise development they say is completely incongruous with its natural surroundings. 

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The winery behind the six star Oscar hotel is Seppeltsfield, one of the Barossa Valley’s most historic wineries that has operated since 1851. With twelve heritage listed buildings on the estate, they are now looking to modernise with this avant-garde development.

Designed by Intro Architecture, the $50 million proposal is for a 12 storey luxury hotel boasting 71 rooms with private balconies, a sky bar and an infinity pool. Inspired by the curves of a wine barrel, it features a twisting, mirrored design with a long undulating roof. The development was announced in April this year and is set to be completed by 2022. 

The development is expected to create 363 construction jobs and 350 ongoing jobs, making it a boon for the local economy. However, many residents would rather the project be axed, including the group of locals behind the lawsuit who call themselves the ‘Taming Oscar’ committee. They noted the Barossa Valley has no other high rises and this 12 storey building would dominate the Barossa skyline.

The Barossa Council’s building regulations dictate that all new developments must “enhance and [be] in keeping with the environmental and visual qualities of the area.”

So can an abstract, high-rise hotel be in keeping with the aesthetic of the valley’s rolling green hills covered with vines? The Taming Oscar committee says no. 

Responding to an announcement of the development on Seppeltsfield’s Facebook page, the locals shared their views. 

“I don't want to knock anything that advances the Barossa Valley, but is this really an appropriate construction in historical Seppeltsfield?” asked Craig Goodman.

“I can't even think of a building in that area that is two stories let alone the size of this construction.”

“Why does it look like a snail that lost its shell?” wrote Peter Lloyd Culley.

Tristan Taylor added the hotel looks “totally out of place. This is NOT the Gold Coast. Just no.”

However, there were also some supporters of the Oscar hotel. 

“Wow looking forward to staying,” wrote Tim Wilson.

Chrissie Hanatschek said the development “looks spectacular!”

Visit Seppeltsfield at 730 Seppeltsfield Rd, Seppeltsfield SA 5355.

Check out our seven all time favourite Barossa Valley wineries here. 

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