CHANGES to the use of developments at a dozen city centre sites are on the cards if council approves amendments to Local Planning Scheme 4 this month.
Controversy has dogged LPS 4 since 2011, when Amendment 49 introduced heights that many in the community deemed unacceptable for the city centre.
While the Planning Minister later approved Amendment 49 in 2012, the scheme came back to the table at last Wednesday’s Planning Services Committee meeting, with a number of changes to development guidelines as part of Amendment 61.
The mandatory 15 per cent office land use requirement would be removed and the guidelines for discretionary height would be changed.
This would allow a height of almost 39m at the Woolstores site, 3m more than the maximum allowed through Amendment 49, and heights of more than 21m at six other sites.
Two buildings on William Street and the High Street Mall were added to the area as site 13.
At Wednesday’s meeting, councillor Andrew Sullivan spoke on the office use removal, saying a better outcome would be if it was removed on some, but not all, of the sites.
‘I’m worried we’ll never get to the point where we will see high-quality offices in this area and I will feel like we’ve failed the people of Fremantle,’ he said.
Cr Jon Strachan said he did not want to see pockets of offices pop up around Fremantle just to satisfy the scheme, but that more offices would spur on the local economy.
Fremantle planning projects and policy manager Paul Garbett said the City was trying to decide what was stopping developers from wanting to build.
He said feedback showed removing the office requirement would give developers more flexibility and viability.
‘The 15 per cent requirement for all new developments was intended to ensure there would be sufficient office floor space created as part of new developments to contribute to achieving the City’s Economic Development Strategy target of 70,000sq m office floor space in the city centre by 2031,’ he said.
‘Recently approved and current development proposals, if built, would deliver more than 80 per cent of this target and therefore it is considered that the requirement could be removed to provide greater flexibility and assist the viability of development of the remaining sites.’