Clear strategy is critical

THE Town of Victoria Park�s consideration of an amendment to its town planning scheme to allow for a proposed five-storey building on Basinghall Street, East Victoria Park is reminiscent of the ugly days of ad hoc planning around Burswood Road in the early to mid-2000s.

If council wants to change its scheme or any planning policies then it needs to develop a comprehensive area plan that delivers tangible community benefits while ensuring consistency in town planning decisions.

The council in consultation with the community and stakeholders, not the landowner, should develop this.

The development and implementation of the Causeway Precinct Plan is a good example of how property interest-driven ad hoc planning has been replaced by a considered approach that combines development potential with community aspiration; and has broad community and stakeholder acceptance.

It is suggested councillors use this approach as a model.

The councillors need to take control of this issue by, firstly, not proceeding with the proposed amendment in its present form.

Secondly, they need to develop a comprehensive area plan, or review any existing plans, for Albany Highway and adjoining streets before any rezoning or planning scheme amendments of this nature are considered.

A working group of councillors, residents and stakeholders representatives to develop such a plan might be a good starting point.

Thirdly, they need to get broad resident and stakeholder acceptance of the plan, following which council�s role will be to ensure any future applications are consistent with the endorsed vision.

Fourthly, they need adequately to fund and implement the Integrated Movement Network Strategy to ensure any increase in traffic and parking are managed.

If council were to agree to the proposed amendment then the Development Assessment Panel, not the council, would consider any future application thus removing community control over what development would likely occur.

Therefore, it is critically important that council is clear as to its town planning strategy and that broad community acceptance of that strategy is apparent.

Only through the development of a comprehensive town planning strategy � and not ad hoc town planning scheme amendments � can the community�s interests be protected, landowners have certainty of outcome and residents aren�t left to clean up, or live with, planning mistakes made by councillors.

DAVID ASHTON, Carlisle.