VICTORIA Park is close to finalising limits for new developments in a bid to settle the controversy surrounding high-rise building in the area.The draft Victoria Park Design Guidelines are likely to be formally accepted by the Victoria Park Council next month and be used to develop policies governing how council handles development applications that do not fully meet the requirements of its Town Planning Scheme.Under the Local Government Act, councils have discretionary powers to approve development applications that do not meet town planning requirements.However, Victoria Park Council CEO John Bonker said councillors could choose to put such policies aside at any time.“An application is only guaranteed approval if it meets the Town Planning Scheme requirements,” Mr Bonker said.High-rise developments have proved controversial in Victoria Park with public outcry influencing council to refuse the 14-storey Nutri Metics building planned for the Sands & McDougall site in Burswood.The Victoria Park Community Association, in particular, believes the town should be high-rise free.Some groups believe high-rise developments will “yuppify” the area, turning it from Labor heartland to a Liberal seat.Others feel the creation of high-rise in Victoria Park is inevitable, given its proximity to the CBD.The Nutri Metics proposal sparked the design guidelines project. When considering the application, council realised it did not have height controls for some of its bailiwick.Council commissioned Hames Sharley to conduct an urban design study considering height and other planning concerns. The study came to council in September and was amended to include:* Limiting any Belmont Park Race Course developments to six storeys;* Retaining the Southgate site within the McCallum Precinct to 15 metres, suggesting a maximum building height of between 10 and 12 storeys;Reducing the height for the Raphael Precinct section along the ridgeline to six storeys;* Keeping the three-storey height limit for the Red Castle Hotel site within the Lathlain Precinct; and* Reducing the height control of the Nutri Metics site to seven storeys.A height limit of 12 storeys for the Causeway precinct was also recommended.Ironically, council refused a development proposal in that precinct because it felt the development’s footprint on the site was too great.That development is due to come back to council in December. To maximise the plot ratio allowances, it is likely that development will be 12 storeys high.
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