23/04/2008 - 22:00

City objections stifle Swanbourne plans

23/04/2008 - 22:00

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More than two years after the site was bought by a private developer, debate over the future of the old Swanbourne Hospital grounds in Mt Claremont is continuing, with the City of Nedlands likely to reject the $50 million residential development proposed

More than two years after the site was bought by a private developer, debate over the future of the old Swanbourne Hospital grounds in Mt Claremont is continuing, with the City of Nedlands likely to reject the $50 million residential development proposed by the site’s owner, which is to be reviewed next month.

Sealcrest Pty Ltd – a company owned by Dr Garry Garside, chairman of Osborne Park-based developer Watersun Property Group Pty Ltd – bought the site and has put together a plan for 14 home sites and 34 apartments.

The company says its proposal, which includes a new building among the heritage-listed Montgomery Hall and other buildings, is broadly in line with a development plan compiled for the Nedlands council by planning firm, Taylor Burrell Barnett, in 2005.

However, the City of Nedlands says the development departs from the Taylor Burrell Barnett plan in seven areas and is amending its local planning policy, which will go to council two weeks before an amended version of Sealcrest’s plan. 

If its development is rejected, Sealcrest intends to appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal, where it previously challenged the City of Nedlands over a decision to prevent Sealcrest advertising its plan.

Dr Garside said his proposal for the Mt Claremont site had received support from both the Heritage Council of Western Australia and Bill Burrell, whose firm had originally provided advice to the Nedlands council. 

“In our opinion and based on the advice we’d been given, we bought it with some certainty (of the development going ahead). They’d rezoned the site to allow residential development and we thought that provided we submitted a plan in line with the Taylor Burrell Barnett requirements, we would be able to proceed,” he said.

Member for Cottesloe, Colin Barnett, and Planning Minister Alannah MacTiernan have both weighed into the debate, in a parliamentary grievance discussion two weeks ago.

Mr Barnett has supported the position of the Mt Claremont Residents Association, which argues that Sealcrest’s plan is significantly different from what was originally envisaged.

Ms MacTiernan said that, from the WA Planning Commission’s point of view, there were concerns over the amount of public open space designated in the plans, but that providing a gym and lap pool in the new building was a good idea.

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