Building codes cause concern

The WA Planning Commission has introduced changes to residential R80 zoned areas, effective from Friday, which reduce the average block size from 180sqm to 120sqm.

Splitting blocks sized 240sqm into two 120sqm sites will also be allowed.

The changes mean an additional 578 residential lots, predominantly in West Perth, Perth and Highgate, could be subdivided.

A report to Vincent council says the changes are a ‘high risk to the community’ because the affected lots are in areas considered to have high levels of character and streetscape value.

South Vincent Precinct Group secretary and architect Michelle Blakeley said concerns centred on the potential for old, character houses to be demolished to make way for two-grouped town houses, as well as damage to the street-scape.

‘Vehicle access in side streets and the impact of off-street parking will destroy the streetscape. We’ll have two garage doors facing out on the streets like in East Perth,’ she said.

Mayor Alannah MacTiernan said council was ‘extremely-concerned’ about the changes.

She said while council knew about the review of the residential design codes, they had only been informed of the changes to the R80 zoned blocks three weeks ago.

‘I don’t think the State Government have thought it through – they’ve just added it in there at the last minute,’ she said.

‘We’re not opposed to subdivision, but we’re concerned about heritage homes.’

Ms MacTiernan said council would consider declaring some affected areas as heritage protected to stop some subdivision.

A WAPC spokeswoman said the changes were made in response to submissions received during public consultation, requesting density code changes to allow small lot and affordable housing primarily in the outer metropolitan area. The South Vincent Precinct Group meeting is at 7pm on Thursday at Northbridge Hotel, corner of Lake and Brisbane streets, Northbridge.

The City of Vincent is also expected to host a community information session on August 3.