A DEVELOPMENT proposed for the Sorrento coast has created concern amongst local residents.
Sorrento Plaza will consist of 77 apartments, cafes, restaurants and retail stores on land bounded by West Coast Drive, The Plaza, Padbury Circle, Drakes Walk and Raleigh Road.
The commercial site is owned by BP Australia, the Peard family of Peard Real Estate, Equation Pty Ltd (Thomsett Family) and the Brown-Neaves family, while ABN Group is the project manager.
It currently houses tenants including White Salt, Voyage Kitchen, a BP service station and BWS liquor store.
The development – estimated to cost $75 million – proposes a maximum of three storeys (10.6m) on 4 Padbury Circle, maximum five storeys (17m) on 2 Padbury Circle and 136 West Coast Drive, and maximum six storeys (20.2m) on 128, 130 and 134 West Coast Drive and 1 Raleigh Road.
It will also have at least 74 car parking bays for shoppers, with additional bays for the apartments, and upgrades will be made to the right turn and parking bays on both sides of The Plaza.
White Salt and Voyage Kitchen will have to close during the redevelopment but will re-open with elevated alfresco dining areas.
Last April, Joondalup Council endorsed a draft activity centre structure plan for the redevelopment of the Sorrento site – subject to changes and a new traffic report – and two scheme amendments rezoning the land from commercial and residential to centre and changing the density code from R20 to uncoded to allow for community consultation.
At the time, planning and community development director Dale Page said because the site was “a number of lots with different ownership”, development occurred in an ad hoc manner.
“A structure plan over the whole centre is the most appropriate planning tool to ensure future planning and development of the site is done in an integrated and co-ordinated manner,” she said.
The required changes have been made and the draft structure plan and scheme amendments are now being advertised for public consultation, with submissions to the City of Joondalup accepted until December 22.
Following consultation, a report will be presented to the council before it is forwarded to the WA Planning Commission.
If approved by the WAPC and the Minister for Planning, development applications will still need to be lodged and approved.
ABN Group built form manager Danielle Davison said the development addressed the broader community’s demand to have better facilities on the Sorrento beachfront.
“As recently as 2015, a community meeting saw 90 per cent of residents surveyed supporting some sort of redevelopment in this precinct,” she said.
“We are disappointed that a minority of people who live nearby are seeking to stop this development going ahead based on misleading information.
“The owners of the properties applying for this structure plan are mostly individuals, many of whom have lived in the surrounding area for most of their lives.
“They see this as the opportunity to transform this dilapidated site into a facility that everyone in the community can enjoy – not just the elite who happen to live close to the beachfront.”
Stop Sorrento High Rise spokesman Stuart Hawkins said neighbouring residents were not against a redevelopment of the site but six storeys was not consistent with the surrounding residential area of single and two-storey homes.
“It has to be reasonable development,” he said.
“The developer is saying it’s not high-rise but six storeys is high.
“The building stretches 120m across and 20m high; that bulk and scale you just don’t see anywhere on our coastline,” he said.
While bulk and scale was their main concern, it also led to other issues, including over-shadowing, parking and traffic.
“We just want to protect the character of our neighbourhood,” he said.“We are just average mums, dad and kids trying to protect our local community from unreasonable development.
The ratepayer group had been consulting with the developer but they were “pushing ahead with six storeys”.
“I’m sure they’ve made minor changes but they haven’t made any changes to address our concerns,” Mr Hawkins said.
“I would like to think there is a middle ground.
“The community has said their preference is for three storeys, which reflects the current height limit that council has endorsed.
“I think we could even have four storeys, which would be more acceptable than five or six.”
He said six storeys was “purely for economic reasons”.
Ms Davison confirmed it was not financially viable to develop less than six storeys.
She said the developer had met with many residents, surrounding businesses and members of the Stop Sorrento High Rise group.
“We have tried to ensure concerns have been addressed such as the massing of the building as it tapers throughout the height, upgrading of the intersection as it turns right onto West Coast Drive from The Plaza and the provision of community facilities and landscaped areas to the verge for everyone to enjoy the ocean views,” she said.
Row over height of plaza
THE Sorrento Plaza proposal does not comply with the City of Joondalup’s local planning policy, according to Stop Sorrento High Rise spokesman Stuart Hawkins.
“About 12 months ago, the City of Joondalup re-endorsed their coastal planning policy and placed a 9m height limit,” he said.
“They (the developer) are not trying to bend the rules a little bit, they’re throwing the rule book out. They’re going more than double the height at 20.2m; it’s not like a small variation.”
ABN Group built form manager Danielle Davison said calling the development a high-rise was misleading.
“The proposed development is only three storeys higher than is currently approved for the site and the site itself sits much lower than the surrounding residential land so the actual height impact will be much less,” she said.
She also said the proposal was not in breach of the City of Joondalup’s building height policy.
“The City of Joondalup Height of Non-Residential Buildings Local Planning Policy is a guiding document,” she said.
“The policy identifies the Sorrento Local Centre as a non-residential coastal site with the default building height provisions limiting development to two storeys unless otherwise approved as part of a structure plan, activity centre plan or local development plan.
“The proposed activity centre plan therefore seeks to provide site-specific guidelines on building height, which respond to the existing topography of the locality and the applicable State planning framework.”
She said the plan aimed to “ensure a sympathetic transition from the existing residential areas”, with most of the building height to front West Coast Drive and with view corridors to the ocean to break up the overall form.
The City of Joondalup’s website states that “greater heights may be considered for non-residential coastal sites (which includes the Sorrento Local Centre) as part of an activity centre plan that takes into account topography, building siting and design, bulk and scale of buildings, visual permeability of the foreshore and the desired character of the area”.