Code changes could lead to sprawl

THE City of Fremantle has joined the Property Council of Australia in criticising changes to the Residential Design Codes.

A MOVE by the State Government to limit suburban apartment developments has been criticised by the Property Council of Australia who says housing affordability and Perth�s infrastructure will be affected.

Under changes announced by Planning Minister John Day announced restrictions would be placed on the number of apartments that could be built on blocks zoned R30 and R35 and would ensure every apartment is allocated at least one parking bay.

While land coded R40 will remain as is, the State Government will encourage local governments to limit apartment developments to blocks near activity centres and train stations.

City of Fremantle strategic planning manager Paul Garbett ok said the city wants the State Government to commit to a �more fundamental� review of the way the codes deal with multiple dwelling housing in established urban areas.

�The recent amendment to the codes will effectively prevent multiple dwelling development at these densities and is contrary to the draft Perth and Peel@3.5million ok document�s broader policy position promoting urban consolidation,� he said.

�The City recognises that allowing such development in lower density suburban locations under the previous R Codes does not necessarily deliver high quality design outcomes, with a more sophisticated design approach required to balance development yield, built form massing and amenity standards for new residents and existing neighbours.

�This should be the aim of a more comprehensive review of state-level policy controlling multiple dwelling forms of new residential development.�

Mr Garbett said any relevant developments under consideration by the City were unlikely to be affected before the changes came in on October 23.

Mr Day said the changes looked to control apartment development in suburban areas.

�Since 2010, the number of apartments allowed on a block has been subject to a different calculation (plot ratio) to other infill developments such as units or townhouses,� he said. �This has seen an increase in apartments being built in established suburbs with predominantly single homes.

�These changes will bring the rules for apartments in line with units and townhouses to ensure the number of dwellings on a block is appropriate for the location.�

Property Council executive director Joe Lenzo said the move would lead to urban sprawl.

�This is a kneejerk reaction to pressure from some local councils who are opposed to any form of infill,� he said. �Nothing happens in isolation and stymieing development in inner suburbs simply forces the expansion of Perth�s outer boundaries.�

Mr Lenzo said every additional car bay could end up costing consumers an extra $30,000 to $80,000.

�If parking is the problem, the answer is parking permits or better infrastructure � solutions that will not impact housing affordability,� he said.

WA Local Government Association president Lynne Craigie said the local government sector had sought change for several years.

�Whilst the initial aim of the R30-35 provisions was to deliver greater diversity of housing stock which local government supports, the development of some multi-unit dwellings has not been well located,� she said.

�This has been exacerbated by developers who have exceeded the plot ratio, creating larger developments than the policy intended.�