Bayswater council rejects Meltham station precinct structure plan


David Lee with Sandra Sjollema with other residents with Meltham Matters Group. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
David Lee with Sandra Sjollema with other residents with Meltham Matters Group. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

BAYSWATER council rejected a structure plan that proposed more than six storeys surrounding Meltham station following more than four hours deputations and debate.

At what was thought to be a record length meeting last night, council resolved to recommend the WA Planning Commission (WAPC) reject the Meltham Station Precinct Structure Plan, prepared by Planning Solutions on behalf of a joint venture between developer Pindan and a number of landowners.

More than 350 public submissions were received, and 25 deputations were presented at the meeting, which was supported by a packed gallery and supervised by a team of security guards.

While council rejected the plan, it included recommendations for conditions if WAPC green-light the plan, including reducing maximum building heights from six storeys to four, the need for more public open space, road intersection upgrades and changes to the boundaries.

Long-term Hotham Street resident and newly formed community group Meltham Matters member David Lee campaigned against the structure plan, which they said would lead to “monolithic” storey heights.

Mr Lee said the structure plan was “flawed, tokenistic… woefully inadequate”, with inadequate green and public open space.

He also said the increase in residents would increase traffic and residential street parking.

“We believe (council) have listened to the community,” he said.

Baysie Rollers’ Andrew Watt, who lives in the structure plan boundary, said the area was currently run-down and attracting cheap, low-scale development.

He said it was “improper” that the City officer’s report disregarded many of the people who supported the plan.

“People are often pressured into signing a petition by a neighbour,” he said.

Hotham Street resident Jan Martin queried a City officer’s suggested solution to the lack of open space; small linear parks placed at spots near the railway.

“I can’t imagine people flocking to public open space outside Porkies and rejoicing,” she said.

Pindan’s Nick Allingame said it had spent considerable funds after the City told them the plan had merit.

He urged council to take into account the “silent majority” who did not have an issue with development.

Planning Solutions’ Tayne Evershed said it had no concerns in-principle with the City’s proposed conditions including to the boundary and public open space, however it did not support a reduction in building heights from six storeys to four and other points.

Mayor Barry McKenna said the plan was “flawed” in a number of areas and the hundreds of submissions received spoke volumes about the community anxiety over the plan.

“To the applicant; we are not rejecting it, we’re just not supporting it,” he said.

“(Pindan) have brought this community to life.”

Cr McKenna said there was a real concern over lack of public open space.

Cr Dan Bull said he thought it was inappropriate for a company to control a plan, the first to come before Baysater council after legislative changes in 2015.

He said a company had an obligation to shareholders, while a local government’s was to ratepayers.

Cr Brent Fleeton said the plan was not acceptable and council should tell WAPC they would start the plan over.

Deputy Mayor Stephanie Coates tried to move to defer the item; she said the “ad hoc” changes made by council last night were dangerous.

All councillors except Michelle Sutherland voted to reject the plan and Crs McKenna, Chris Cornish, Sally Palmer, John Rifici and Bull voted for the host of conditions recommended for the WAPC if approved, while Crs Coates, Sutherland, Catherine Ehrhardt and Fleeton voted against.

MORE: WorkSafe investigating City of Stirling for ‘bullying behaviours’ by councillor toward staff

MORE: State Govt cancels boost to First Home Owner Grant

MORE: Lower Chittering: State Govt shelves plans for open range zoo