INTENSIFY: New planning schemes are being developed to encourage more residential development along Cambridge Street. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Cambridge density plan rejected

Six years of surveys, community consultation and planning have come to naught in the Town of Cambridge, after Planning Minister Donna Faragher rejected proposed changes to the area’s town planning scheme.


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Lino Iacomella states that the rejection of Amendment 31 was a disappointing outcome for local residents seeking more housing diversity. As a Floreat landowner within the Town of Cambridge I agree with this but would go further and say that it is a disappointing outcome for Perth. As a City we need to look seriously at ourselves and from a sustainability perspective accept and embrace densification of our inner suburbs. This includes our Western suburbs. Here was a Council who had the foresight and political courage to challenge the status quo. They stopped the talk and took action. Unfortunately all for nought.

There is a need to have varied housing options with a higher density. Strata developments as well as multipurpose high rises up to 15 or 20 stories. These multipurpose developments could have retail on the ground floor, several floors of commercial(offices etc) and the remainder residential. This leads to a 24/7 utilisation base.

As a resident and professional town planner I can say with confidence that the decision by the Minister to reject A31 was entirely the correct decision. The amendment was advanced in the absence of either a local planning strategy or a local housing strategy and poured medium density into traditionally single residential streets, rather than consolidating density around activity centres and activity corridors as required by state policy. It clearly breached SPP 4.2 and the fundamentals of Perth and Peel to focus density around key infrastructure. It contained no built form controls and controls to deliver diversity. It ignored completely the values of these existing neighborhoods. Not all infill proposals are going to be good proposals. The community including many professionals like myself were correct to question this one and, in this case at least, the community, the WAPC and the Minister (and eventually the new Council) got it 100% right. To understand why you need to look at the detail and not simply assume all infill is good by definition.

City Beach
I am also a resident and though not a town planner I found merit in Amendment 31. For too long there has been inflexibility in zoning for Cambridge and the selfish attitude of the nimby crowd. If you look at nearby Wembley Downs there is mixed zoning and I see no sign of urban decay or destruction of lifestyles there as dramatically warned of for Cambridge by those opposed. Yet now I see that they have won their battle and the Minister for Planning has rolled over by refusing the amendment. It remains to be seen whether the Minister will grow a spine and push Cambridge to get their act together in a "timely fashion" or acquiesce to the delaying tactics of the nimby crowd in control of the council.

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