Council decision creates obstacle

THE Perth City Council has thrown an obstacle in the path of of investors trying to sell property in East Perth, refusing to renew its development approval.

The group, previously a syndicate known as Newrose Holdings, invested money in the Wellington and Bronte Street properties through failed Global Finance.

With the collapse of Global, the syndicate members became the mortgagees of the properties and are now looking for a buyer.

While the properties can be sold in their present form, syndicate members believe a development approval is crucial to attracting potential buyers.

An application to build a $12 million mixed commercial and residential complex was granted conditional approval by the city council in December 1998.

But, after two years, there are no ground works and approval has lapsed.

Project plans involved the demolition of the existing buildings between 26-32 Wellington Street and the construction of 12-storey tower consisting of 65 residential apartments, car parking facilities, commercial tenancies, café, pool and gymnasium.

Existing dwellings between 31-33 Bronte Street would be replaced with a six-storey building with 15 apartments.

At the April 10 city council meeting, however, councillors upheld the staff recommendation to refuse the renewal of the development approval on the grounds that proposed plans no longer complied with a number of council policies, which had been changed since December 1998.

Heritage issues also were raised in the council report, as the proposal would involve the demolition three timber cottages on Wellington Street.

“The three 19th century timber cottages at numbers 28-32 Wellington Street have been entered into the city’s Municipal Heritage Inventory due to their aesthetic and historic significance and rarity value,” the report says.

“The demolition of these buildings will significantly alter the character of the streetscape and the pattern and scale of development within the street block.”

In 1998, the heritage significance of these cottages had not been assessed and was not raised as an issue when the development first came before the council.

Directors from the board of Ocean Gardens, original syndicate members, are expected to meet with the city council to work out new conditions under which the project could be approved.

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