31/10/2019 - 16:05

Minister to intervene in South Perth, planning impasse hits Melville

31/10/2019 - 16:05

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Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has confirmed the state government will assess whether Finbar Group’s Civic Heart proposal in South Perth should have been approved, while at the same time another planning flashpoint is emerging in Melville.

Minister to intervene in South Perth, planning impasse hits Melville
Rita Saffioti will make the final determination on whether Finbar's Civic Heart will proceed. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has confirmed the state government will assess whether Finbar Group’s Civic Heart proposal in South Perth should have been approved, as another planning flashpoint emerges in Melville.

Business News reported last week that the state government had been weighing whether to intervene in South Perth, after Finbar’s Civic Heart proposal was knocked back by the Metropolitan Central Joint Development Assessment Panel.

Finbar’s plan had been backed by City of South Perth planning officers and supported by its design review panel, however, the JDAP rejected it on the basis that its design lacked the memorability and distinctiveness required for the landmark Civic Triangle site.

Ms Saffioti today announced that the state government would use its legislative powers to make the final determination on whether the project should proceed, with Finbar, the City of South Perth and the JDAP invited to make submissions on the process.

“The public interest in this development signifies its importance to the central Perth region and to the state, and I consider it appropriate that the application be called in for my determination,” Ms Saffioti said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Mustera Property Group is facing a similar challenge to Finbar in the City of Melville, after its revised Forbes Residences proposal was rejected at JDAP.

Mustera reduced the height of its original proposal by five storeys to better comply with the City of Melville’s planning scheme, but it was nevertheless rejected at JDAP despite its design being described as “exemplary” by the JDAP panel.

The revised 15-storey project, designed by international architecture group WOHA, was again refused on the grounds that its proposed height was excessive. 

An architect's rendering of the Forbes Residences proposal. Image: Mustera Property Group

Mustera executive director Nicholas Zborowski said the decision was deeply disappointing.

“There’s no question we are frustrated with the result – this was a project for the residents of Applecross, and one that has been designed to deliver real benefits for the local community,” he said. 

“Throughout this process, we have demonstrated that we wanted to work with all stakeholders to develop a project which would set a new benchmark for Perth, and introduce leading architectural and sustainable initiatives to the WA market. 

“This is a discouraging decision for the apartment sector, and for the area.” 

The proposal is located on a Forbes Road property where planning guidelines specify a height limit of 10 storeys, with JDAP able to use its discretion to approve projects above that level if a certain level of community benefit is provided.

Mr Zborowski said community amenities proposed in the project include a garden area, a community hall, end-of-trip facilities.

“The Canning Bridge Activity Centre Plan allows for increased height where there is an acknowledged exemplary design, and provision of a significant benefit to the community,” he said. 

“Our proposal for Forbes Residences aligns not only with the objectives of the CBACP, but also with the state government’s Design WA framework and Directions 31 policy. 

“In light of this, the decision by the JDAP is a baffling one. After significant investment and commitment to developing a proposal for a landmark project to this stage, we will now need to reconsider our next steps.”

Mustera will now decide whether to redesign the project or pursue a full hearing at the State Administrative Tribunal.

 

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