11/05/2021 - 12:30

Tribunal backs panel, council in development refusal

11/05/2021 - 12:30

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The state’s administrative tribunal has reaffirmed a decision to reject a contentious $2.1 million childcare centre in Perth’s western suburbs, ending an 18-month court appeal process.

Tribunal backs panel, council in development refusal
The original submission presented to the Metro West JDAP back in 2019.

The state’s administrative tribunal has reaffirmed a decision to reject a contentious $2.1 million childcare centre in Perth’s western suburbs, ending an 18-month court appeal process.

Property developers Aaron and Nathan Caratti - nephews of Allen Caratti, one of one WA’s biggest land owners - lodged a development application with the Town of Claremont in April 2019 to build a child care centre in Swanbourne.

The childcare centre, proposed by Sharon Property and Kenby Property, was set to be built across two blocks at 162 and 164 Alfred Road and accommodate 90 children and 18 staff.

But the Town of Claremont had recommended that the Metro West Joint Development Assessment Panel refuse the application, highlighting that it was inconsistent with the planning scheme and could have a detrimental impact on the amenity of the area.

The recommendation followed more than 100 objections from surrounding neighbours, who raised concerns about the proposal’s potential to substantially increase traffic, pose a risk to safety and adversely affect property values.

With a traffic impact assessment concluding that the proposed child care centre could generate 322 trips daily and increase vehicle movements at the nearby intersection by up to 200 per cent, officers suggested that any approval should be subject to a condition to improve the road design.

The panel backed the council's recommendation, refusing the development application in July 2019.

The following month, Aaron and Nathan Caratti took the decision to the state’s Administrative Tribunal before revising the proposal by decreasing the centre's capacity by one-third and resubmitting it for consideration.

But the panel wouldn’t change its mind, refusing the application for a second time in February 2020 and prompting its return to the State Administrative Tribunal.

The tribunal reviewed the refusal during a five-day inquiry between October and December last year, which featured a site visit and presentations from two acoustics experts and five traffic experts.

In a judgement handed down late last week, the tribunal concluded that the proposal should be refused as the impacts of noise and traffic would “unreasonably compromise and erode” the amenity of the area and adversely impact surrounding residents.

In its reasoning, the tribunal also raised concerns about traffic safety and, while accepting that the existing traffic arrangements were not “ideal”, it was no mandate to discount the safety issues that would inevitably arise from the development and the increased traffic.

In justifying its decision, the tribunal also stated that it was not satisfied that the development’s community benefit outweighed its negative impacts.

The tribunal affirmed the panel’s decision to refuse the development and ordered that the application for review be dismissed.

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