City of Stirling needs design professionals for review panel

City of Stirling's council office.
City of Stirling's council office.

THE City of Stirling is seeking design professionals to provide advice on development proposals.

Councillors voted at the March meeting to establish a design review panel, which aims to provide independent expert advice on design aspects of development applications.

Cr Bianca Sandri sought a report on creating the panel and believed it would result in “better designs that will stand the test of time”.

Nominations are open to be part of the panel of up to 10 design professionals – including a chairperson and deputy chairperson – who are experienced in architecture, heritage, sustainability and environmental design, landscape architecture, planning and/or urban design.

The panel will provide expert advice on applications for development valued at $2 million and above, multiple dwellings with more than 10 units and planning proposals.

A report by the City presented at the March meeting said other local governments with design review panels included Vincent, Joondalup, Fremantle, Melville and South Perth.

Developments in Applecross and South Perth have faced substantial backlash from residents and numerous challenges over concerns about height, bulk and scale, despite being assessed by Melville and South Perth’s design review panels.

Cr Elizabeth Re failed to get support to have community members on the panel and was concerned that ratepayers were paying for “another layer of red tape”.

The City has budgeted $130,000 in 2018-19 to establish the panel and expects to spend $5000 per meeting, which includes hourly rates of $240 for panel members and $275 for the chairperson.

Cr Adam Spagnolo believed the money would be better spent elsewhere.

“$130,000 in my opinion is a waste of money,” he said.

“We have staff at the City of Stirling to do this kind of thing.”

But Cr Karen Caddy said it would improve the quality of designs and that a similar panel used by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority worked well.

“I think $130,000 is a very small price to pay for better built form outcomes,” she said.

Nominations close at 5pm on August 24 and can be made at www.yoursay.stirling.wa.gov.au/DRP.