03/05/2021 - 15:41

CCGS progresses playing fields plan

03/05/2021 - 15:41

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Christ Church Grammar School is advancing its plans to acquire state government land near its existing St John’s Wood playing fields, proposing a $20 million expansion project.

CCGS progresses playing fields plan
CCGS plans to consolidate its sporting facilities, which are currently spread across multiple sites. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Christ Church Grammar School is advancing its plans to acquire state government land near its existing St John’s Wood playing fields, proposing a $20 million expansion project. 

The move to expand the school’s St John’s Wood playing fields has been in the works for more than two years, with CCGS requesting endorsement from the City of Nedlands for the potential acquisition of an old tip site known as Brockway landfill in 2019. 

That site, owned by the state government, is located immediately adjacent to the school’s existing St John’s Wood playing fields in Mount Claremont, along Stephenson Avenue, bordering the University playing fields and John XXIII College. 

Late last week planning group element, acting on behalf of the school, sent a letter to Mount Claremont residents that detailed how CCGS was now in the process of purchasing the land and planned to create an environmentally-focused redevelopment, with land to be transformed into expansive and accessible playing fields.

To develop the Brockway landfill site into usable playing fields, the letter further noted CCGS would be required to invest approximately $20 million and therefore needed to consider its options at Mount Claremont. 

That was in reference to the school’s second parcel of land in Mount Claremont, located about one kilometre down the road from the St John’s Wood playing fields, known as the Mount Claremont playing fields. 

The Mount Claremont playing fields span approximately eight hectares touching McClemans Road and Fortview Road, within St John’s Wood Mounting Claremont housing estate.

In documents obtained by Business News, records show a land transfer between City of Perth to CCGS in the early 1970s for $30,000, with that land subject to the Town of Cambridge Endowment Lands Act 1920. 

Under the Town of Cambridge’s draft Local Planning Strategy, that landholding is designated ‘parks and recreation’ but is zoned ‘urban’ under the Metropolitan Region Scheme. 

CCGS has been seeking to change that land designation under the Town's Local Planning Strategy to be considered a ‘potential future development site’, a move it said would better reflect the site as privately owned and that it didn’t form part of district open space. 

In October last year, the Western Australian Planning Commission met to discuss the Town of Cambridge’s draft Local Planning Strategy, including CCGS’ proposed amendment. 

According to the WAPC 2020 meeting minutes, CCGS and element discussed the potential to unlock the value of McClemans Road site to allow for infill housing development and options to be explored through future planning processes. 

The WAPC meeting minutes noted CCGS and element had not at that point held discussions with the Town of Cambridge for the potential amendment of the site, as the proposal was a late submission in the process of reviewing the Town’s draft strategy. 

As a result, the WAPC said it would not accept the school’s late submission. 

Since then, the school has held further consultation with the Town of Cambridge, which suggested it undertake preliminary consultation with the immediately adjacent landowners prior to any other formal submission to change the land use. 

The school has now launched that community consultation process. 

In response to Business News enquiries, principal Alan Jones confirmed that CCGS intended to sell the Mount Claremont playing fields land as part of its plans to acquire the Brockway landfill site. 

“The school is in conversations to purchase land adjacent to its existing St John’s Wood Playing fields to consolidate the playing fields at one site. If successful, the Mt Claremont site would be surplus to the school’s needs,” Mr Jones told Business News

“The cost of the development will be debt funded and proceeds of the sale of Mt Claremont will be used to clear this debt.” 

CCGS also provided Business News with an email it had sent to parents late last week, which detailed how the school had been considering how to improve its sports facilities, which were currently spread across multiuple sites.  

"We’ve always thought it ideal to be able to consolidate our sporting fields into a single location and that opportunity has presented itself with the potential to purchase some additional land. The site is immediately adjacent to the existing St John’s Wood playing fields," Mr Jones told parents. 

“It is important to emphasise that at this point in time we are still negotiating with the owners of the land so this project is still very much in its early stages.

“One of the consequences of the opportunity to consolidate our sporting fields into one location is the need to consider options for the development of the Mount Claremont playing fields. 

“As a result we have begun a process of engaging with residents/homeowners and the Mount Claremont community as we believe it is important they are appropriately consulted and their voices heard as options for development are considered.

“It is my intention to keep the school community fully informed as we proceed, especially since the consultation process is designed to be open and transparent and therefore may be subject to discussion and even coverage in local media.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the school and I look forward to keeping you updated.” 

In element’s letter to Mount Claremont residents last week, it noted that any development plans would involve community consultation and invited queries and feedback.

It said its team would be available to meet with residents from today through to May 14, either at their homes or at the CCGS pavilion building. 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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