Scheme concerns peaking

THE draft City Planning Scheme Number 2 (CPS2) has attracted some unwanted attention as concerns about the development potential of the city and Northbridge gather momentum.

The CPS2, which has been formulated over more than a decade, has recently been sent to Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan for approval.

The Property Council of Australia (WA Division) has contacted the City of Perth to outline its concerns about the issues of setbacks and plot ratio bonuses in the city.

These two issues, it claims, could have a dramatic effect on the viability of future developments.

In particular, the limitation of vertical planes or the height of new developments has caused some alarm.

Property Council communications and policy officer Geoff Cooper said its concerns related to the commercial viability of a site.

He said if a developer faced serious hurdles to get a proposed development approved, it would be more than likely that the developer would seek a new site.

The CPS2 requires developers to utilise a “wedding cake” tier structure as the height of the building increases.

“Required tiers at 45 degrees result in inefficient structure and services design,” Mr Cooper said.

“A repetitive apartment design over two levels is impossible and vertical transportation by stair and lift is made more difficult in many cases, which results in further inefficiencies in fire engineering.

“In commercial development, economic design is often based on distance from natural light, which is typically from external windows to a building core.

“If façade setbacks must occur, a floor with a typical 13 metre distance to natural light is typically reduced to 9.4m, 5.8m and 2.2m.

“It can clearly be seen that this is not economical and limits Northbridge to a scale that will stifle development.”

The impact of the CPS2 on Northbridge has sparked concern from a number of stakeholders in the area including City of Perth councillor Vincent Tan.

“The thing is if someone puts in front of a developer a great big hurdle why should they invest in Northbridge,” he said.

“At the time the CPS2 was formulated no-one was looking at sinking the railway line.

“What if we do sink the railway line and no-one wants to invest or develop Northbridge because of the CPS2.”

Mr Tan said the CPS2 restrictions would discourage further development in Northbridge.

“As you know in Northbridge there’s not a lot of development going on, apart from the EPRA project,” he said.

“Why would you do a development in Northbridge when you are restricted in terms of the height at the front of the building.”

Mr Tan said the restrictions on the height of buildings were formulated to avoid overshadowing.

He said overshadowing was not a big problem in a city that enjoyed the sort of climate that Perth did.

“The concept (of overshadowing) was something that was fashionable in the UK for a long time but the UK has got little relation to WA,” Mr Tan said.

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