Terrace Road policy threat

THE Perth City Council’s Terrace Road Design Policy, indeed its entire planning framework, could be in tatters following a successful appeal.

Planning Minister Graham Kierath upheld the Guardian Finance Corporation’s appeal regarding a proposed low-rise building with commercial and meeting spaces and a 14-storey, 135-apartment tower for the Freemasons Hall site on Terrace Road, Perth.

Council refused the development because it felt the applicants asked for too much plot ratio. Council’s Terrace Road Design Policy allows a plot ratio of 1.5:1. The proposed development requires a plot ratio of 3.35:1.

An argument used in the appeal was the 4:1 plot ratio given to the Paramount development on nearby Adelaide Terrace.

In a letter to the appellant, Mr Kierath said he would allow the development to proceed subject to the:

l Height of the residential tower being reduced by one metre to comply with the Terrace Road policy height limits but this does not apply to roof-top service and plant room structures provided they meet the setback requirements of the policy;

l Proposed commercial uses in the low-rise structure meeting council requirements; and

l Development complying with other conditions as council might reasonably impose.

Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass said plot ratio was becoming an irrelevant tool for controlling building designs.

Dr Nattrass said design policies, such as the one for Terrace Road, controlled the size, shape and envelope of a building.

“If the developers of the Freemasons Hall site stuck to the plot ratio, they would not be able to maximise the building envelope,” he said.

“If they built to the maximum of the envelope and removed the atrium, they would meet the plot ratio requirements.”

On October 10 council refused an application from the Roche Group to develop two multi-storey apartment buildings on either side of Burt Way.

Councillors again argued the applicant was asking for too much plot ratio and went against council’s Terrace Road policy.

The Burt Way development requires the demolition of the Harold Krantz-designed buildings used for low-cost housing.

The Roche family is believed to have bought up 85 per cent of the buildings’ strata titles over the past decade.

“This will lead to Gold Coast-type developments facing the Swan River.”

– Councillor Laurance Goodman

Dr Nattrass said he had supported the Roche development because part of the application involved the beautification of the Burt Way streetscape.

It is likely a planning appeal for the Roche development would be upheld, given the treatment of the Freemasons Hall site.

Councillor Laurance Goodman said Mr Kierath was opening up Terrace Road to “unbridled and unlimited applications”.

Mr Goodman has a pecuniary interest in the site due to his ownership of the nearby Terrace Hotel.

He said he was an advocate of allowing developers to develop their properties to the fullest.

“However, it has to be done within guidelines,” Mr Goodman said.

“Now everyone will have open slather and ask for the world.

“Graham Kierath and the Government have control of planning in that area.

“This will lead to Gold Coast-type developments facing the Swan River.”

Mr Goodman said Mr Kierath’s move could stifle development in the city because it would raise property values.

“Other property owners will expect to get the same sort of provisions for their land.

“Commercial properties have had lower values recently so they’re being refurbished or redeveloped.

“If the values go up, people will stop developing.”

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