R-Codes changes to result in more sprawl

Changes to residential development guidelines – designed to ensure density is built in appropriate locations – have the potential to drive up the price of housing, put pressure on existing infrastructure and encourage urban sprawl, according to prominent industry players.


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Osborne Park
Aged and Community Services WA (ACSWA) is the largest peak industry body for the not-for-profit aged and community care providers in WA representing church and charitable organisations throughout the state. Recent changes to the R—Codes announced by the Minister for Planning have the potential to reduce the future provision of affordable apartments for seniors on land zoned R30 and R40 by up to 60%. A very large portion of the Perth metropolitan area, and many regional centres, will be affected by these changes. The amendments, effective from 23 October 2015, will significantly limit the ability of the not-for-profit aged care sector to deliver adequate supply of dwellings to accommodate an already high demand for senior’s housing in the community. Many retirement villages and residential care facilities are in established residential areas, and the changes to the R-Codes could make it unfeasible to upgrade or expand these facilities to provide quality affordable housing. ACSWA is also deeply concerned that the WA Planning Commission has stated it will consider local planning scheme amendments to further restrict the development of apartments for seniors in areas zoned R40, currently unaffected by these changes. ACSWA will continue to engage with WAPC to ensure these and any future changes to the planning system do not limit the supply of affordable housing for seniors.

Not all and perhaps none of the reactions against the WAPC R-Codes are reactionary, emotive responses. They reflect a genuine dislike for high density infill development which to those opposed to it is happening too fast and out of step with how they choose to live; with the community form in which they choose to live. Their opposition relates to life-style. On the other hand developers and investors are driven to create more profit and wealth, not always with a negative impact, but generally pushing 'old' boundaries for the best and fastest return on investment they can make. A little patience on their parts will see the passing of those not approving of their view and, if they are are right about higher density being desirable, then it will happen and in a more natural rhythm of change. Highly unlikely, but what's the rush?

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