Developers move after commissioners’ decision

PROPERTY developers are applauding the decision by the City of South Perth’s government-appointed commissioners to adopt a new Town Planning Scheme (No 6) after 10 years of debate and controversy.

Uncertainties over the final content of the city’s proposed TPS(6) is one of the reasons developers say they have incurred long delays and frustrations in dealing with the council.

Residential developers Fitzpatrick Property Development Pty Ltd and Niche International Pty Ltd have finally completed refurbishing the former Town Lodge Motel at 134 Mill Point Road in South Perth, four months behind schedule because of the City of South Perth’s old planning regime.

The developers’ plans to refurbish the six-level building into 35 strata units coincided with the City of South Perth’s suspension and eventual dismissal at the end of June. Delays, compounded by the HIA Insurance collapse at the same time (the developers’ indemnity insurers), resulted in a $200,000 interest and expenses bill.

Fitzpatrick and Niche couldn’t foresee the delays ahead when they purchased an adjoining house fronting Daly Road for $850,000, planning conversion of the site into a car park and entry/exit for 134 Mill Point Road residents.

“We thought it would be preferable to have vehicles accessing the building from the side street rather than holding up traffic on busy Mill Point Road,” a Fitzpatrick spokesperson said.

A re-zoning application for the house was refused. With the project’s approval already taking longer than anticipated, rather than incur another six-month delay, the developers acquiesced and designed the building with vehicle access onto Mill Point Road.

Industry sources confirm that Fitzpatrick and Niche’s experience with the City of South Perth is typical, although the council is certainly not the only local government authority to inflict long planning delays on developers. However, Fitzpatrick said an almost identical development the partners built in Leederville went through the same stringent planning assessment in just six weeks.

City of South Perth spokesman Ross Povey, director of Strategic and Regulatory Services, said re-zoning applications were not influenced by the city’s TPS(6).

Delays in the adoption of the new scheme had been caused by the number of submissions received by the city’s interested residents (over 1800) in response to advertisements, the consultation process, and disagreement with Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Alannah MacTiernan, he said.

Mr Povey said the main objectives of the new plan were to divide the city into characteristic precincts and to simplify the zoning and planning process.

The new TPS(6) is currently before Ms MacTiernan for endorsement and the city expects it to be implemented by the end of the year.

Fitzpatrick and Niche are selling the final units in their $7.2 million project. Located along South Perth’s million-dollar apartment strip near the Swan River foreshore, and opposite the Perth zoo, the single-room apartments are selling for $200,000.

The developers spent $3.2 million buying the property and a further $1.8 million on refurbishment. The adjoining house on Daly Street, no longer destined for car parking, is for sale.

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