01/12/2016 - 16:08

Appeal rejected on South Perth tower

01/12/2016 - 16:08

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A South Perth resident group claims a Court of Appeals decision to uphold the quashing of a development approval on Mill Point Road confirms the original intent of the suburb’s town planning scheme, but the developer behind the proposal says the judgement only highlights problems with development guidelines in the area.

An artist's impression of Edge Visionary Living's Lumiere proposal at 74 Mill Point Road.

A South Perth resident group claims a Court of Appeals decision to uphold the quashing of a development approval on Mill Point Road confirms the original intent of the suburb’s town planning scheme, but the developer behind the proposal says the judgement only highlights problems with development guidelines in the area.

Western Australia’s Court of Appeal today unanimously upheld last year’s decision of Supreme Court Justice John Chaney to set aside an approval for a 29-storey tower at 74 Mill Point Road, put forward by Edge Visionary Living.

The approval was initially set aside by Justice Chaney because the proposal did not meet a requirement in South Perth for buildings of a certain size to be predominantly commercial use.

South Perth Peninsula Action Group spokesperson Vicki Redden said today’s decision confirmed the intent of the South Perth council when it changed its planning guidelines to help attract the density required for the state government to build a train station at Richardson Street.

“Residents have said from the outset that the DAP was misapplying the local scheme, which was intended only to allow some additional height to developers to encourage commercial development in South Perth,” Ms Redden said.

“Instead, developers and some city planners treated the town planning scheme as if it gave them a free pass to develop skyscraper residential towers with vast profits.”

However, Edge Visionary Living spokesperson Paul Plowman told Business News that today’s decision only highlighted the inherent flaw in the commercial use requirement.

“(The scheme) is now asking for a predominantly commercial mix, which of course in development terms, is unworkable,” Mr Plowman said.

“So it’s really up to the state and the local authority to say ‘well we need increased density and development in South Perth, so how do we resolve that issue so that people can build sustainable and viable projects’.”

Mr Plowman said the commercial use requirement was almost ironic in that it undermined the case for a train station in South Perth, by hampering developers’ ability to provide residential development.

“It’s so arbitrary in the sense that it demands a certain commercial-residential mix on certain buildings,” he said.

“That undermines the viability and commerciality of these projects, particularly when you’ve got a CBD that’s full of empty office space.

“You just need a more practical way of achieving those outcomes by being flexible, and the town planning scheme doesn’t have that at the moment.”

A further amendment to the City of South Perth town planning scheme, which will put in place tighter height limits in the South Perth Station precinct, is being considered by Planning Minister Donna Faragher.

Mr Plowman said Edge Visionary Living would now focus on bringing its 34-level Lumiere proposal, which was approved by the metropolitan central DAP in October, to construction early next year.

“On the original 29-storey building, 60 families have committed $80 million,” Mr Plowman said.

“There are 35 or 36 conditions on our 34-storey approval so we’re just going though those, making sure we’ve got all of those worked out, and then we are going to spending the early part of the new year transferring the sales from the 29-storey building to the 34-storey building.

“Our beef has never been with the local residents; we have had some serious concerns with the conduct of the council in reacting and responding to those, but at the end of the day we’ve got a development approval and we can create some certainty for those people who bought into the original building by getting on and doing what we need to do, and that’s what we’re focused on now.”

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