12/08/2020 - 08:00

Nedlands project heads to SAT

12/08/2020 - 08:00

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The developers behind the $320 million apartment project planned for the Chellingworth Motors site in Nedlands have lodged an application with the State Administrative Tribunal.

Nedlands project heads to SAT
The proposal for 301 apartments along Stirling Highway was knocked back by the JDAP last month. Photo: Elenberg Fraser

The developers behind the $320 million apartment project planned for the Chellingworth Motors site in Nedlands have lodged an application with the State Administrative Tribunal.

Joint venture partners Grange Development Consulting and Costa Property Group’s proposal for 97-105 Stirling Highway, known as the Chellingworth Motors site, was knocked back by the Joint Development Assessment Panel last month, but the duo are hoping to push ahead with their plans.

Scale and size were the main concerns raised during the JDAP meeting, with the panel voting three to two against the proposal.

The development application proposes 301 apartments, as well as commercial office, retail and hospitality tenancies spread across four towers ranging from eight to more than 20 storeys – the largest residential development proposed for the City of Nedlands.

Grange managing director James Dibble said the team had made the decision to go via the SAT, rather than pursue a process with the Western Australian Planning Commission – an option aged care operator and developer Oryx Communities has recently chosen to explore after its $30 million project’s progress was blocked by the City of Nedlands.

“We feel at this point it is best (provided the JDAP members stay the same for consistency of assessment) to go down the path we have been, rightly or wrongly, so that those who are assessing the development have the most context possible,” Mr Dibble told Business News.

“In addition, it’s our understating the state route is already tied up until the end of the year and we need to see progress sooner rather than later given the years we have been at this already.”

That state route forms part of the state government’s series of COVID-related stimulus measures: earlier this year it introduced planning reform that now grants the Western Australian Planning Commission temporary decision-making powers over particular proposals deemed as ‘significant developments’.

Under the new streamlined assessment process, these developments are defined as those projects with an estimated cost of $20 million or more in Perth’s metropolitan area and $5 million or more in the regions. 

Those projects will now be assessed directly by the Western Australian Planning Commission, via the State Development Assessment Unit (SDAU).

This is the process Oryx has decided to pursue, believed to be one of the first development applications to be lodged under the SDAU. 

Oryx has proposed a four-storey residential aged care facility, featuring up to 90 beds, to be developed across four lots at 73 and 75 Doonan Road, and at 16 and 18 Betty Street. 

Oryx said the City of Nedlands Council had since voted retrospectively to amend the existing Local Planning Policy at the end of July this year. 

That also followed a residents’ petition to stop the development, which claims Oryx had “not engaged with any of the direct neighbours or the wider community in the past five years about their plans”, not since it had “proposed a new two-storey building … something we all welcomed.” 

Mr Dibble faces a similar situation, with the Nedlands council seeking to amend a new precinct plan that came into effect with the gazettal of a new local planning scheme in April 2019. 

Part of the new scheme involved significant rezoning, contained to ‘key corridors’: up to seven storeys permitted along Broadway; 10 storeys plus along Stirling Highway; and up to three to five storeys within some streets off Stirling Highway. 

The Chellingworth Motors site was identified within a potential town centre zone, which was left without height controls.

Mr Dibble said he was optimistic that a fair outcome could be negotiated at SAT mediation later this year, highlighting that the proposal missed out on an approval by one vote at JDAP.

“We want to get going and as do our partners,” he said. 

“It is not only this project that’s being held up, but it creates a domino effect on our other WA projects.”

Grange, a Victoria-based developer, has earmarked another site in Mosman Park for development at 572 Stirling Highway. 

The developer told Business News in June it planned to develop 80 apartments across eight levels, with an additional ground floor level comprising 1,219 square metres of lettable commercial space. 

A development application was expected to be submitted for the site later this year, but Mr Dibble said that project would not start until the Nedlands project was approved. 

“I’ll say it again, we aren’t just trying to build another apartment project. We are trying to create a benchmark, WA’s first net carbon zero building, a new town centre, architecture that - love it or hate it - is different, and a pathway to living in apartments without compromise,” Mr Dibble said.

“All in all we are still positive, we love Perth and think it has huge potential, and that ultimately this building when built, will be one that Perth will be proud of.”

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