BAYSWATER Mayor Dan Bull is calling on the WA Planning Commission (WAPC) to make “contextual decisions” about local development plans after the Commission approved the developer-formed Meltham Precinct Structure Plan last month.
WAPC approved the plan – which was prepared by consultants Planning Solutions on behalf of a joint venture between developer Pindan and a few property owners – at its meeting on October 24 despite Bayswater council’s recommended refusal.
According to the plan, the purpose was to facilitate the development of residential properties of more than six storeys and mixed use precinct around the Meltham train station.
The Commission will advise the City of Bayswater that further detailed planning should be undertaken to investigate further opportunities to increase residential densities within 400m of the station.
Cr Bull said WAPC ignored the City’s concerns about permitted heights, development density and the provision of public open space.
“In recent times, the WAPC has been appearing to make decisions without properly taking into consideration feedback from the community, also from council and the proponents,” he said.
“We want proper, contextual decision making and just arbitrarily saying this area is going to be ‘x’ number of storeys, seems like bringing a sledgehammer to what should be a more considered decision.”
Cr Bull said the City was “pro-development” but developments needed to provide better amenity for the local area.
A WAPC spokesperson said the plan was in line with State planning policies including Perth and Peel@3.5million and Metronet, but requested modifications be made before the plan was resubmitted for approval.
“Extensive community consultation was undertaken as part of the process and the WAPC heard deputations from people both supporting and opposed to the proposal,” the spokesperson said.
“An amendment to the City’s Town Planning Scheme No. 24 will also be required before the structure plan can be implemented.”
A Pindan spokeswoman said as the matter was currently being resolved between the City and WAPC, Pindan declined to comment.
Concerned Meltham resident Sandra Sjollema, who lives on Hotham Street, said the suburb lacked public open space and residents wanted development that fit with the community.
Fellow Hotham Street resident David Lee said many residents were concerned about the developer-led structure plan being the first in the City.
“Consultation is a two-way process and it helps bring the community on board about the proposed developers get involved with the developer and we won’t have a situation where everyone is just angry,” he said.
Future Bayswater chair Paul Shanahan said WAPC accepted some of the group members’ suggested changes to the plan at the meeting.
“The City developed a local housing strategy in 2012, of these 30 objectives – including Meltham – were to be completed by 2017 but nothing has happened,” he said.
“You have got owners of land in that area waiting for certainty of what can be done there… you can see why private developers went we will do our own.”
Mr Shanahan said the group wanted to “leverage” all the opportunities that the City’s train stations and Metronet offered.