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Codes not enough: association

THE new Residential Design Codes, while welcomed by the property industry as a step in the right direction, still need to go further to provide a more flexible development environment, says Inner City Housing Developers Association president Derwent Southern.

Mr Southern said the codes did not promote inner city developmen well enough.

Planning Minister Graham Kierath said the new rules were designed to protect homeowners’ rights and needed to keep pace with changing residential trends such as the construction of more two-storey homes, smaller block sizes and increased density.

They also address issues such as privacy and overlooking, streetscapes and building heights and size, to clarify the requirements of local government when considering planning approvals.

“In many areas, home owners are taking advantage of their larger block sizes by dividing off the rear portion and constructing a second house to be sold,” Mr Kierath said.

“We are not proposing to stop people taking advantage of their properties but we do believe there is a need to protect the investment of their neighbours.”

Mr Southern said the Ministry of Planning recognised there was a need for differentiation between the central city and normal residential development.

“But some of the lessons that the last 10 years – not only in Perth but also in other states – have taught the industry obviously haven’t crept through to these proposals yet,” he said.

“While it recognises lifestyle and proximity to central city facilities and public transport are the driving forces for people to live in the city, it then comes back with some sets of rules which are a little proscriptive.

“(They) don’t acknowledge that one of the ways that you can actually enhance and add value to the community, not just to the properties themselves, is to take away a lot of the rigid rules.

“If it fits the locality and it fits the fall of the neighbourhood, then that’s more appropriate than saying you can’t build more than a 1.25 plot ratio.”

Mr Kierath said the code, developed by representatives from the Ministry of Planning, the Housing Industry Association, WA Municipal Association, and the Urban Development Institute of Australia, was a dramatic change from the previous codes.

Mr Southern said he would like to see some of the central city provisions flow down into some of the inner city parts of the code.

“As an industry we are still at the pioneer stage. One of the things we need to do is we have to prove to the public and those that want to buy our product that we are conscious that we want to build for the long term,” he said.

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