THE state government’s planning reforms have come under fire after it approved changes to the Town of Cottesloe’s development scheme, allowing up to eight-storey buildings to be constructed along the beachfront.
Planning minister John Day and Premier Colin Barnett announced the changes late last week, after a long period of “exhaustive debate, examination and consultation”.
The main changes include a maximum height limit of five storeys for lots fronting Marine Parade between Eric and Forrest streets, while eight-storey and six-storey exceptions would be made for the Ocean Beach Hotel and Lido sites.
The Town of Cottesloe previously advocated a three-storey height limit for buildings.
Greens MLC Robin Chapple savaged the announcement on Friday, saying the plan to increase height limits along Marine Parade runs counter to community sentiment and undermined the planning powers of local government.
“This announcement illustrates the state’s deliberate interference in the ability of the people to make local decisions in a democratic manner,” Mr Chapple said.
“It also shows the inherent bias of the Development Assessment Panels, which are not truly representative by virtue of having fewer local members on the panels than other stakeholders – an inequitable situation at best.
“This situation negates the ability of the DAPS to adequately represent the community through its closest sphere of government.”
Mr Chapple said the government had ignored recommendations from independent experts on suitable height limits for the Cottesloe foreshore.
But Mr Barnett maintained the changes would bring an end to 20 years of debate and would encourage much-needed renewal and redevelopment for the area.
Mr Barnett said allowing an eight-storey building at the Ocean Beach Hotel site was “not high-rise development”, and expected Cottesloe residents and beach visitors alike to benefit from the scheme changes.
“The clear direction this planning scheme provides will encourage the redevelopment of some areas that would benefit from renewal,” Mr Barnett said.
“It will be mandatory that the ground floor of all developed blocks is set aside for retail and commercial activities such as cafes, restaurants and shops.
“To add to the diversity of options for visitors to Cottesloe, the first floor of developments on larger sites will also be set aside for short-stay accommodation.”
The state government first proposed increasing height limits in Cottesloe in December 2010.