Centre sizes under review

05/11/2008 - 22:00

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THE state government plans to release a draft revision of a controversial policy which caps shopping centre growth, which has been described as out of touch with residential expansion in new growth areas, early next year.

Centre sizes under review

THE state government plans to release a draft revision of a controversial policy which caps shopping centre growth, which has been described as out of touch with residential expansion in new growth areas, early next year.

The draft copy of the revised Metropolitan Centres policy will be available for industry and community feedback in the first half of 2009.

Last month, the cap resulted in plans to double the size of the Kingsway City Shopping Centre being knocked back by the State Administrative Tribunal after a protracted four-year battle.

The tribunal ruled in favour of the WA Planning Commission and set a cap of 20,000 square metres for the Madeley centre.

The Tan family, owners of the centre, applied to expand from 15,000sqm to 32,000sqm and has indicated its intention to appeal the tribunal's decision.

"The significant increase in retail net lettable floor area to 32,000sqm and the incorporation of a second discount department store is likely to undermine the established and planned hierarchy of metropolitan centres," the tribunal stated.

However, there might be the prospect of limited retail expansion at the site to include a second supermarket, but the total area would have to be restricted to 20,000sqm.

Peron Group chief executive Ian Armstrong also took a swipe at the policy, saying the prescribed limits on all shopping centre locations didn't necessarily reflect what was happening in new growth areas.

WA Planning Commission Communication Manager Natasha Farrell said the policy had been under review since 2006.

"Strategic planning for activity centres is necessary to meet community needs for new commercial development and employment, against a background of Perth's strong population and economic growth," she said.

"The policy provides guidance on the location, distribution, function, size and development of key activity centres."

Ms Farrell said the policy was supplemented by local government commercial strategies, which provided more detailed policies about individual centres.

"It is likely the review will retain a regional centre hierarchy, in order to promote an equitable distribution of centres and employment throughout the city," she said.

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