15/10/2019 - 15:45

Finbar rails against Civic Heart rejection

15/10/2019 - 15:45

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Western Australia’s biggest apartments developer has blasted planning authorities’ rejection of its Civic Heart proposal in South Perth, saying the process appeared to be “superficial and subjective” as it gears up for a State Administrative Tribunal appeal.

Finbar's Civic Heart plan includes a heritage restoration of the old South Perth police station and post office alongside two apartment towers. Image: Finbar Group

Western Australia’s biggest apartments developer has blasted planning authorities’ rejection of its Civic Heart proposal in South Perth, saying the process appeared to be “superficial and subjective” as it gears up for a State Administrative Tribunal appeal.

Finbar Group’s $365 million Civic Heart plan, proposed to include 320 apartments across two towers at South Perth’s flagship Civic Triangle site, was rejected last week by the Metropolitan Central Joint Development Assessment Panel.

Minutes from the JDAP’s meeting were uploaded to the Department of Planning Lands and Heritage website today, indicating the project was knocked back because its architectural design lacked the “memorability and distinctiveness” required for the landmark site.

Finbar managing director Darren Pateman said the company’s board of directors was extremely disappointed by the decision, particularly after the project was subject to review by an independently appointed Design Review Panel prior to the JDAP rejection.

Mr Pateman said that process resulted in several revisions to the original proposal to satisfy the DRP that its design was exemplary.

The project, which was recommended for approval by City of South Perth planning officers, was also assessed by state government architect Geoff Warn prior to the JDAP hearing, with his report also indicating the project lacked memorability and distinctiveness.

“Unfortunately it appears to Finbar that the objective assessment required by a DRP under published policies and guidelines of the Western Australian Planning Commission was replaced by the JDAP’s own subjective, and brief, assessment about whether the proposed design was 'exemplary' enough,” Mr Pateman said in a statement provided to Business News.

“As a significant developer of apartment living in WA, Finbar considers it essential to ask the State Administrative Tribunal to review the JDAP decision, which would hopefully replace the apparently superficial and subjective assessment by the JDAP with a more rigorous and objective assessment of the DRP’s opinion, and of the work undertaken by Finbar with the expert guidance of the DRP.

“As the DRP process has been introduced to apply to all major developments in Western Australia, Finbar considers it an important case of principle to have that DRP process reviewed by the SAT, so large investments of time and money do not risk being wasted without an objective assessment of the design on its merits.”

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