Appeals Court Rules in Favour of Removing Behemoth Billboard in Red Hill

Brisbane lawyer Richard Leahy has emerged victorious in a 3-year legal battle that had reached the Supreme Court over the construction of an imposing 11-metre-high billboard right outside his residence on Musgrave Rd in Red Hill.

In mid-20202, Mr Leahy, an experienced litigation solicitor, objected when a colossal digital billboard was built on Musgrave Road, obstructing the picturesque city views from his property.

Standing at an imposing 5.3 meters wide and 11.3 meters high, the billboard instantly became an unwelcome addition to the neighbourhood skyline.

Upon contesting the construction, Mr Leahy discovered that Brisbane City Council had not taken into account mandatory considerations, including the impact on views from neighbouring properties.

Mr Leahy took the matter to court and in 2022, the Brisbane Supreme Court ruled in his favour, ordering Council to revoke its approval of the billboard’s construction and revisit the matter while considering all relevant factors.

However, Council decided to take the matter up with the Court of Appeals. The appeal has now been dismissed by the Court, and the Supreme Court’s judgment reaffirmed, with further instructions for Council to cover Mr Leahy’s legal costs.

In their denial of the appeal, the appeal judges highlighted that Council had access to an expert report that explicitly identified Mr Leahy’s property as one directly affected by the proposed billboard, emphasising that advertisements should not obstruct or dominate the views of neighbouring properties or compromise their overall amenity.

Council’s approval of the massive billboard, without providing any prior warning or opportunity for objection, has now been deemed a violation of procedural fairness by the Supreme Court.

Despite the court’s ruling, the enormous electronic billboard continues to loom over Musgrave Road, advertising various companies such as Qantas, Royal Caribbean, and Great Northern beer on its expansive 42-square-meter screen.

In light of the court decisions, a Council spokesperson said it will still review the decision delivered on 20 June 2023. 

Published 29-June-2023

Red Hill Resident Wins Case Against Billboard Installation Next to His House

Red Hill resident Richard Leahy has won his dispute with Brisbane City after he sued over a towering billboard installation next to his house along Musgrave Road.

In 2018, Council approved the billboard installation spanning 11.3-metre high and 5.3-metre wide. The size of the installation essentially blocked Mr Leahy’s view of the skyline from his cottage home and, as a resident, he was not notified of this approval. 

By 2020, a billboard was indeed erected on the site thus Mr Leahy, who is a litigation lawyer,  took the matter to court. 

Council, however, argued that Mr Leahy took time to object to the billboard installation when he sued the city in November 2021. However, the lawyer said he did ask for information on why this installation was approved but Council had no response. Apparently, the person responsible for the approval has since left the council job thus a statement could not be presented. 

Red hill billboard Musgrave Road
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Supreme Court Justice Peter Davis sided with Mr Leahy and said that the billboard’s installation, which also encroached on a portion of the lawyer’s property, was illegal and had to be removed. 

“Mr Leahy made attempts to ascertain the reasons for the decision. He is prejudiced by the decision. A huge, imposing sign sits next to one of the boundaries of his land. For reasons I later explain, Mr Leahy’s application for review has good merits,” Justice Davis said in the decision. 

“The Council was obliged to afford Mr Leahy an opportunity to make submissions before granting the approval for the sign.

“The delegate failed to take into account the mandatory consideration as to the interruption of views from 51 Musgrave Road.”

“It is ordered that: The decision of the Council made on 18 December 2018 approving the construction of an electronic advertising billboard on 43 Musgrave Road, Red Hill be set aside.”

Mr Leahy’s court expenses will also be shouldered by Council. Reports stated that Council will appeal the decision. No further comments were given.