Call to reduce height of buildings rejected

About 40 residents were at the meeting that addressed motions put forward at a special electors’ meeting held in December last year.

The council would not consider the proposed height reduction of Special Control Area 12 (SCA 12) as part of the Bayswater Structure Plan or initiate a new scheme amendment.

Tessa Hopkins, whose group Bayswater Deserves Better moved the motion, said she thought the council could face a backlash if it did not give the community a say on building heights during the structure plan process.

“We can understand that amending SCA 12 would be neither easy or fast; it can take up to 12 months to gazette town planning scheme amendments,” Ms Hopkins said.

“It is highly alarming that the council rejected building height reduction as a key issue to be considered as part of the Bayswater Structure Plan process.”

Councillor Chris Cornish said he wanted to know whether the Metro Central Joint Development Assessment Panel or State Administrative Tribunal would approve 9-11 King William Street before he made a decision on building heights.

“If an application for seven storeys can get approved under five, then three storeys could lead to five,” Cr Cornish said, receiving applause from the public gallery.

However, Deputy Mayor Stephanie Coates said she supported a five-storey maximum height for SCA 12 and lowering to three was not in the greater community’s best interests.

“It might not be popular now but I think in 50 years time it will be right for this area,” Cr Coates said.

Mayor Barry McKenna said he was “quite happy to do absolutely nothing” and said the outcry over the King William development was an anomaly.

Resident Michelle Sutherland said a bit of density would bring the town alive.

“At the moment, retailers in their area have been doing it tough… there has been a high turnover,” Ms Sutherland said.

Michael Freeburn said there had been no investments in the town in decades and under SCA 12 rules, investments could now occur.

The council approved three other motions from the special electors’ meeting including that future structure plans include pictures and graphics; the allocation of $200,000 for a review of the Municipal Inventory of Heritage Places; and to continue to request heritage assessments for development applications.