Council staff break five-nil trend

A PLAN to build a three storey office and apartment building at 1010 to 1018 Wellington Street in West Perth has been refused, despite an eleventh hour bid by Councillor Tess Stroud.

At council’s 22 June meeting, Ms Stroud moved the development be approved even though council staff had recommended refusal because it did not comply with council setback requirements.

Council staff said the proposed development was not consistent with the orderly and proper planning of the locality, would have an adverse effect and was not of a scale and character appropriate to the locality.

But Mrs Stroud said the application complied in most ways.

“It is up to us to use our discretion,” she said. “That area is very run down. “We’re trying to encourage people to live in the city.

“This development is everything we’re trying to do in the city. That building will lead the charge.”

Council staff were most concerned with the lack of setbacks on the site’s northern boundary.

The land to the north of the site is vacant and currently owned by council.

It is understood the prospective buyer of that block is unconcerned about the lack of setbacks, providing he gets similar dispensation when he develops his property.

But council staff cannot provide such a dispensation. They can only judge each application on its merits.

Deputy Lord Mayor Michael Sutherland said there was no problem with the site’s lack of setbacks.

“Officers said the biggest concern was the northern boundary. That site has not been built on,” Mr Sutherland said.

“I think we are here to try and encourage people to come back and live in the city.”

But Councillor Bert Tudori led the charge for refusal.

“We have ten pages here telling us why this application should be refused,” Mr Tudori said.

“The past five refusal recommendations from council staff have all been overturned by councillors.

“That doesn’t say much for our planning department. Five-nil,” he said.

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