27/08/2008 - 22:00

Developers idle at the lights

27/08/2008 - 22:00

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A group of Western Australian property developers is still waiting to receive a planning document that would allow more than 3,000 hectares of land in the Peel region to be converted to housing.

Developers idle at the lights
ON HOLD: The WA Planning Commission is yet to release its urban growth strategy for the Peel region, which has halted a number of proposed residential developments in the area.

A group of Western Australian property developers is still waiting to receive a planning document that would allow more than 3,000 hectares of land in the Peel region to be converted to housing.

Flagged for release by the WA Planning Commission more than six months ago, the document in question is the Peel and South West metropolitan growth strategy, which will guide future residential projects in the region, particularly around Ravenswood and Yunderup.

The delay has put a brake on the development aspirations of a number of landholders in the area, including Satterley Property Group, which owns about 330ha of land in Nirimba, near its Austin Cove project, and Peet, which holds 300ha in the area.

West Perth-based Cedar Woods owns about 100ha of land in Yunderup and has an interest in a further 350ha held by a private landowner, which could be developed into about 4,500 lots.

Other landowners include Thomas Rapley Developments Pty Ltd, represented by Osborne Park-based Rapley Wilkinson, and Leederville-based Landtec Projects Corporation.

Shire of Murray executive manager of strategic development, Brett Flugge, said a number of concept plans had been submitted to council since late 2004, but were still awaiting approval.

"We do have all these major development proposals on our books for Ravenswood and South Yunderup, but we just don't have any idea whether they will be included under the [strategic] plan," Mr Flugge told WA Business News.

"While council is supportive of these, we can't progress them without an urban growth strategy."

Mr Flugge said that, while the urban growth plan was now scheduled for release at the end of the year, there was less certainty around how long it would take to rezone all of the affected land.

"We're reasonably confident the area will be included [for residential development], the biggest doubt is the timeframe for rezoning. It could be developed as late as 2015 or 2020," he said.

For Cedar Woods, the decision to buy land in the area had been based partly on a local planning document, which indicated future urban development would be allowed.

The company's development manager, Ken Haustead, said progress had been very slow.

"With the current property market, the pressure has probably come off the WAPC in addressing these issues, but it's taking a long time to devise a Peel land strategy," he said.

Other developments being held up by the absence of a WAPC plan include a proposed shopping centre for Ravenswood, which has been in the pipeline for at least 12 months.

The site's owner has taken the issue to the State Administrative Tribunal and is awaiting a verdict on a directions hearing.

Also yet to receive the go-ahead is the state government's proposed 4,000ha Amarillo development, pegged for development through a public-private joint venture.

The project, being managed through the Department of Housing and Works, is still going through environmental assessment.

Meanwhile, Port Bouvard's proposed residential development at Point Grey, near the Peel Inlet, is set to progress, with the Shire of Murray due to decide on its urban rezoning at its next council meeting.

The company paid $92 million for the 275ha parcel in late 2006, and will build between 3,000 and 4,000 lots on the site.

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