Posted on November 10, 2017
City of Bayswater Mayor Dan Bull has called on the WA Planning Commission (WAPC) to stop disregarding Council recommendations and community feedback in its decision making.
The move follows a decision by the WAPC to approve a structure plan for the area around Meltham Station put forward by a private developer despite the community voicing strong concerns during consultation with Council.
Mayor Bull said the City held a series of workshops and public meetings to ensure the community understood and were fully equipped to provide meaningful feedback on a proposal that would significantly impact their local neighbourhood.
"The fact that Council received over 350 submissions speaks volumes about anxieties the proposed structure plan generated for much of the community.
Mayor Bull said the WAPC had ignored community feedback.
"The WAPC's approach to growth around activity centres is tantamount to drawing a circle around Meltham Station and marking everything inside as high density. It's just not that simple.
"Council and its community have extensive knowledge of the area surrounding Meltham Station. This type of development needs to be considered in a local context, in line with the typography and character of the area.
"The WAPC has ignored the City's concerns regarding permitted heights, development density and the provision of public open space.
"The WAPC's approval will allow developments of up to six storeys in some areas which is significantly greater than the height recommended by the City," Mayor Bull said.
"The approval also ignores Council's request that the structure plan identify new areas of public open space.
"The Meltham Station Precinct does not contain a single area of useable open space. This could leave future residents with limited access to neighbourhood parks.
"That's contrary to our Garden City ethos and one of the basic amenities expected by all communities."
Mayor Bull is concerned the WAPC is quickly establishing a reputation for out-of-touch decision making.
"We saw it with their decision to ignore Council and allow significant development adjacent to the Eric Single Bird Sanctuary.
"We also saw it with the recent decision on a town planning scheme amendment that the City proposed to control the proliferation of out of scale, lookalike apartments through the City's Character Protection Areas, and now we've seen it with the Meltham Station Precinct Structure Plan.
"Why bother consulting with the community and with Council if you're going to ignore the feedback you receive.
"This matter needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
The structure plan was prepared by consultants Planning Solutions on behalf of a joint venture between developer Pindan and a few landowners.
Based on the feedback received from the local community, Council opposed the structure plan because it believed it was flawed in a number of areas, including concerns over densities, heights, public open space, traffic congestion and lack of amenity.