16/12/2010 - 00:00

Cottesloe push to undermine councils

16/12/2010 - 00:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

A PROMINENT Perth-based lawyer has questioned the need for local governments to remain involved in town planning, after Planning Minister John Day last week moved to smooth the way for mid-rise development on Cottesloe’s beachfront.

Cottesloe push to undermine councils

A PROMINENT Perth-based lawyer has questioned the need for local governments to remain involved in town planning, after Planning Minister John Day last week moved to smooth the way for mid-rise development on Cottesloe’s beachfront.

Hammond Legal principal and president of lobby group Keep Cott Low, John Hammond, said he reacted in disbelief after Mr Day announced last Friday that he would modify Cottesloe’s town planning scheme to allow mid-rise development along the beachfront.

The modifications would allow development of up to five storeys on Marine Parade between Eric and Forrest Streets, including the Cottesloe Beach Hotel, and projects of up to eight storeys on the Lido Restaurant and Ocean Beach Hotel sites.

“It really questions the need for local government to have a town planning function, because at the end of the day you put a matter to a vote, such as the issue of high-rise, and you have a council that’s elected on an anti-high rise platform, that puts up a plan along those lines, and then the planning minister can override it,” Mr Hammond told WA Business News

“I think it would be a lot more honest for a state government to say, ‘We are now in the business of planning and we will be overriding the local authorities’.”

Town of Cottesloe mayor Kevin Morgan said Mr Day’s actions had far reaching consequences that applied to other town councils.

“The minister has ripped any planning controls out of not only the Town of Cottesloe but any other council around the state, so the reality is that this is just a sign of the way things will get done in the future under the new centralised planning regime,” Mr Morgan said.

Mr Morgan said the council and the local community was disappointed that around $500,000 of taxpayers’ money had been spent on an enquiry-by-design process that had been ignored by the state government.

The enquiry-by-design process, which concluded in 2005, identified the need to retain a 3-storey height limit along the beachfront, with exemptions in place to allow four- and five-storey development at specific sites.

“They haven’t come back to us and had any discussion about why they’ve dropped the outcome that we’ve all spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on,” Mr Morgan said.

“It looks like blatant political considerations rather than planning considerations have won on the day, but there will be some bright and shiny buildings down there no doubt in due course.

“For the planners and others that have looked closely at the issue, the aspirations were to have a low-rise beachfront precinct surrounded by high-rise looking into it.

“We are conscious that now with this beachfront stretch of buildings, its going to decimate the heritage precinct that sits behind them, and probably close down any views from the public open space at the civic centre.”

Height limits have long been a source of contention for developers along the metropolitan coast.

In 2005 the state government capped coastal development at five storeys, with allowances put in place for eight storey projects in limited cases.

In May, the City of Stirling adopted amendments to its town-planning scheme, allowing for development of up to eight storeys throughout the Scarborough area, with special exemptions allowing for 12-storey developments on three landmark sites.

Singapore’s Chip Eng Seng Corporation and Melbourne’s Crane Corp lodged a development application to build three 12-storey towers at the White Sands site in Scarborough in November.

At Australand’s Port Coogee development, buildings are restricted to five storeys, except in the marina village area, where developments up to eight storeys will be allowed.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options