30/07/2009 - 00:00

Kingsway City still in the game

30/07/2009 - 00:00

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THE owners of Kingsway City shopping centre in Madeley are "reasonably confident" of gaining the necessary approvals to redevelop the site, after the Supreme Court ruled the State Administrative Tribunal would have to re-examine the proposal.

Kingsway City still in the game

THE owners of Kingsway City shopping centre in Madeley are "reasonably confident" of gaining the necessary approvals to redevelop the site, after the Supreme Court ruled the State Administrative Tribunal would have to re-examine the proposal.

Kingsway City owner, the Tan family, appealed to the Supreme Court through its company, Tah Land, after the SAT agreed with the WA Planning Commission to refuse approval to increase the retail space in the shopping centre.

Last Friday, the court ruled that the matter would be re-heard by a different panel at the SAT in August.

Tah Land's proposed structure plan calls for the size of the centre to be doubled, from 15,434 square metres, to 32,000sqm, and also features a main street precinct, incorporating cinemas, retail facilities and a mixed commercial/high density residential development.

Key tenants in the proposal are Coles and Target, to complement Big W and Woolworths stores currently on site.

Tah Land's lawyer, Michael Hotchkin, said recent planning scheme changes meant the proposed plan stood more chance of receiving approval this time around.

Planning Minister John Day announced a draft activity centres policy last month that repealed floor space limits at shopping centres and eliminated the 'hierarchy' of centres in Perth, which the minister said had held back similar proposals.

"The government has changed some personnel in WAPC, and with a change of policy as well there may well be a different view taken of the effect any approval of this proposal would have on the general shopping centre hierarchy," Mr Hotchkin told WA Business News

"The fact that retail floor caps have gone, and the fact that this shopping centre proposed extension fits right on two major activity corridors, it fits the profile very well for a shopping centre in that area.

"Part of the reason we are pretty confident about succeeding on this occasion is because of that change in policy, quite apart from the fact that we thought we had a good application the first time round."

Although Mr Hotchkin said the Tans were encouraged the proposal would again be reviewed by the SAT, five years of battling against planning policy had cost his client hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"If you can imagine the rent that a tenant will be paying, a tenant like Coles or Target, let alone the specialty tenants that sit off them, its costing millions," he said.

"For every month that goes by it's costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue."

Mr Hotchkin said the SAT's original ruling highlighted inadequacies in the way planning policy was implemented in WA.

"The SAT didn't deal properly with our claim that the actual circumstances justified a departure from the policy," he said.

"The SAT's response was 'if there's a problem, we need to review the policy'.

"That's not how you deal with policy. If there is a problem, then that's a basis for departing from the policy.

"(The SAT) just paid too much attention to the question of whether the policy would be undermined, rather than dealing with the local conditions of the area and the needs of the local community."

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