IT is concerning that the planning application for 27 apartments at 9–11 King William Street in Bayswater was approved by the Joint Development Assessment Panel, despite it being carefully considered by council and rejected in line with the recommendations of the City’s professional staff.
It is not about whether this development should go ahead in any form or not, and it does not matter if you are in favour of seven, five or three-storey buildings in the centres of our suburbs.
It is about the assessment panel’s disregard for our City’s policies.
Unfortunately, this happens all too often, and it could affect any one of our neighbourhoods.
An unelected panel overturned the decision of our democratically elected representatives on council, just like that.
It comes down to a basic question: who should be responsible for local planning decisions – our local governments or the State Government (which appoints the panels)?
Our council should always exercise its powers responsibly.
But since July 2011, when the Barnett Government introduced present assessment panel arrangements, our councillors have lost control over an important part of city planning, and therefore, we, the residents, have also lost our power and ability to influence decision making on many developments in our suburbs.
On the Facebook page “Improving Maylands” I have suggested several ways for people to voice their concerns. It is only a start, but in a State election year, we can have some impact. The present situation is untenable.