Legal advice sought over development

The Metro Central Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) approved the controversial block of apartments last month, reversing its original decision last year and in opposition to the council’s recommendation.

Behind closed doors at a council meeting last week, councillors decided to write to the assessment panel, Yolk Property Group, and site owners to inform them they would seek legal advice.

They have not ruled out applying for a judicial review at the Supreme Court.

Mayor Barry McKenna said the lawyers would inform them “where they stand” in relation to further action at 9-11 King William Street.

Cr McKenna said lawyers would examine the “legalese” behind the five-storey building and the 20m restrictions set out in Special Control Area 12.

“It’s an incredibly big decision to take on JDAP at the Supreme Court,” he said. “The lawyers might say there’s no room to go to the Supreme Court, this is about the rest of your SCA 12.

“An extra two storeys within the 20m is more than a minor discretion.”

Cr McKenna said the City had already spent a lot of money embroiled in State Administrative Tribunal negotiations to defend its position on a proposed concrete batching plant. He said the legal findings could impact the wording of the soon-to-be completed structure plan, the Town Planning Scheme and JDAPs.

At a previous meeting, the council decided to write to Planning Minister John Day and Attorney General Michael Mischin to inform them of their disappointment with the assessment panel’s decision and request a review.

Cr McKenna said he was concerned there were three government appointees and only two elected members. However, Mr Day said in Parliament this month the approval by the assessment panel resulted in an improved outcome for the community.

“The DAP process actually resulted in an improvement in the outcome, compared with what was recommended by the City planning report,” he said.

“I was interested to receive a very emotive letter from the Mayor of Bayswater – I think he needs to understand the full story.”