05/12/2016 - 14:33

Support for South Perth high rise

05/12/2016 - 14:33

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A snap poll of residents in South Perth has revealed strong support for development in the area, despite activism against the high-rise project plans.

Support for South Perth high rise
Samantha Reece has urged council to consider the visitors and workers when evaluating development in South Perth. Photo: Attila Csaszar

A snap poll of residents in South Perth has revealed strong support for development in the area, despite activism against the high-rise project plans.

South Perth has become Perth’s most divisive planning flashpoint, with developers clashing with resident groups over the scale of apartment projects allowed in the area.

Developers argue that they are adhering to planning guidelines in place in South Perth, which were relaxed in 2011 to attract the density required to build a business case for a train station.

However, a raft of apartment skyscrapers proposed by developers sparked action from resident groups, which presented a 300-signature petition to the City of South Perth to voice their opposition to the changes under way in the suburb.

The City of South Perth has also moved to tighten its planning rules in the wake of the protests, while it is also examining its legal options to challenge the approval of a 34-storey tower on Mill Point Road.

Conscious of the uprising of opposition, West Australian Apartment Advocacy director Samantha Reece took to the streets of South Perth recently to canvass public opinion.

Ms Reece said she spoke to 51 residents, visitors and South Perth workers for the poll, with 55 per cent extremely supportive or very supportive of development, and a further 37 per cent moderately supportive.

Two-thirds of the respondents said there was a definite need for a train station in South Perth, while 55 per cent wanted a larger supermarket, and 47 per cent wanted more bars or restaurants, amenities that generally come with apartment developments.

Ms Reece said the biggest concerns raised through the survey were related to traffic and congestion, as well as build quality and design.

Residents were also concerned over a potential negative impact on property values stemming from the proliferation of apartment development.

However, Ms Reece said the overwhelming sentiment of the survey, which she admitted was a small sample size, was that apartments were the key solution to accommodate the density the suburb needs.

“As one interviewee said, there was already a culture of apartment living in South Perth and this is just a natural evolution for the suburb,” Ms Reece said.

Ms Reece said she had encountered a lot of visitors to South Perth while conducting the poll, many of them attracted to the recreation on offer on the Swan River foreshore.

“When a council is considering its overall development, it can’t just take into account the residents’ views – it must also consider those of workers and visitors to the area,” she said.

“The South Perth area is a shared space and hence while there will be some teething pains through the initial growth phase, ultimately if this is matched with good infrastructure, the benefits should far outweigh the negatives.”

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