Perth College demolition plans opposed in Mount Lawley

Mt Lawley Society members Shelia Robinson, Phillipa Baines, Tim Hammond and Deb Olle are against Perth College’s development plans.  Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au d444570
Mt Lawley Society members Shelia Robinson, Phillipa Baines, Tim Hammond and Deb Olle are against Perth College’s development plans. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au d444570

THE Mt Lawley Society has vowed to continue fighting a plan by Perth College to demolish four homes to make way for a new education building.

Tim Hammond from the society said principal Jenny Ethell’s comments after the development application was approved by the North West Metropolitan Joint Development Assessment Panel were misleading.

Mr Hammond said five submissions were received during the public consultation period, all of which objected to the proposal.

“When the application went before the minister-appointed JDAP, the application was only successful by a 3-2 majority,” Mr Hammond said.

“JDAPs take away all transparency from the decision-making process.

“There is no evidence at all to support the contention that the wholesale demolition of four homes, each almost 100 years old and all located within a heritage protected area, has any community support.”

But Mrs Ethell said the community was thoroughly consulted and the school had contracted heritage experts to evaluate the significance of the four properties on Lawley Crescent.

“We did look at trying to use the facade and integrating them, but two independent heritage consultants actually said they were not of heritage significance,” she said.

“It is an educational precinct, not a residential area.”

Mrs Ethell said any decision to scale back or redesign the plans would have to be made by the school board.

Mr Hammond encouraged the school to “go back to the drawing board” and come up with a new design that could incorporate the original facades of the homes, or even bookend the development by leaving a house on each side.

“The Mt Lawley Society is not anti-development and we respect the rights of landowners who wish to develop their land,” he said.

“However, that must not come at the cost of the wholesale demolition of a heritage streetscape.”