THE City of Melville has welcomed the findings of a Property Council report that places it at the top of the pile for planning performance.
The report, Benchmarking Greater Perth Local Governments, was based on a self-assessment survey and compiled the results to score local governments on four areas: local planning strategy, local planning scheme, delegation and timeliness.
It singled out Melville (21.7 out of 23) and Belmont (20.1) as the only metropolitan local government administrations displaying a high level of planning performance.
After Local Planning Scheme 6 was gazetted in May, Melville is also one of only three local governments with a planning scheme less than five years old.
Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey said the Property Council report was an endorsement of the time the City has dedicated to planning for the future needs of the community, particularly in response to the State’s forecasted population growth.
“The City’s existing housing supply is dominated by three or more bedroom properties, with more than half of these homes occupied by two people or less,” he said.
“This oversupply of larger properties has led to a lack of housing choice for our residents.
“Increasing density will not only allow for apartments and smaller lots to be developed, benefiting households with two or less occupants, but will also encourage more affordable opportunities for those starting their housing journey, or alternatively those wanting to downsize.
“We can look forward to seeing Melville transform into a vibrant community with new opportunities for employment, business growth and investment, increased housing options and many more public spaces designed to bring people together.”
Meanwhile, WA Local Government Association president Lynne Craigie questioned the validity of the report, which she labelled “simplistic.”
She said the report punished a number of local governments who had planning documents bogged down in the State Government’s approval process.
Cr Craigie also disagreed with the report’s claim that all planning approval should be delegated to professionals such as City planning officers.
“A significant proportion of these decisions do not currently go to Council, with some 95 per cent of all planning applications made through delegation arrangement,” she said.
“However, the nature of those decisions for the remaining 5 per cent may differ between the councils according to their individual focus, as well as the expectations of the communities who elect them.
“The association wishes to see the continuation of locally elected representatives in local decision making.”
City of Melville planning applications 2011-16