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In The News: Planning Review

AS a spate of new construction projects get under way across the CBD and West Perth, the City of Perth has announced it will review its planning scheme for plot ratio and building heights. The review, prompted by rapid development and strong demand for office space in the CBD, will include an assessment of whether extra plot ratio or taller building heights will be easily absorbed within the city. It will also examine plot ratio objectives and methods of calculation, and compare those with the policy of other state capitals. The review follows recent discussions between the city, developers, and architects regarding the limitations of current plot ratio calculations. Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said the review was necessary to ensure the city’s planning scheme reflected council and community objectives. “It is important that our planning scheme can accommodate future development trends and is not simply a reactive document,” Ms Scaffidi said. “Developers may need greater scope when it comes to providing the buildings that will be required to meet the city’s growth.” The Department for Planning and Infrastructure will be invited to contribute to the review, and plans for a working group to include a representative from the Property Council of Australia are being discussed. The review follows an independent plot ratio study, conducted in 2003, which found plot ratio allocations and building height provisions were appropriate, although some areas such as Adelaide Terrace required greater scope. While amendments have already been made to the city’s planning scheme, to allow internal modifications or alterations at ground level in excess of the plot ratio, the city believes more fundamental changes are needed. Changes to the city’s plot ratio scheme would require an amendment to the City Planning Scheme No 2, which was adopted by council in 2004. Plot ratio controls the intensity of development on a site and refers to the relationship between site area and total permitted floor space.

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