Justice centre backlash

The Lord Street facility will house up to 10 people who have an intellectual or cognitive disability accused of crimes but deemed unfit to face court.

Local residents vigorously campaigned against the centre, which is directly across the road from houses and less than 300m from Lockridge Primary School.

The City of Swan supported the locals when it vetoed the plan at a council meeting last month, however the government over-ruled the decision, allowing the centre to be built.

City CEO Mike Foley said the government’s decision was disappointing.

‘It is disappointing the State Government has not listened to the community and council’s concerns regarding this facility,’ Mr Foley said.

‘The council was unanimous in its decision and remains of the opinion that this facility is not consistent with the objectives of the Swan Valley Rural zone, and not consistent with proper and orderly planning.’

He said a corrective institution is an ‘X use’ and therefore not permitted within the Swan Valley Rural zone.

‘We believe the location, close to schools, community facilities and residential-zoned land, is inappropriate.’

He said there was little more that the City could do.

‘This is a State Government facility and the government has made its decision ” the City of Swan is not able to over-ride this decision.’

Bassendean MLA Dave Kelly said despite the disappointing decision, the community would continue to campaign against the centre being built.

‘The decision is a slap in the face for the City of Swan, which unanimously rejected the planning application at its meeting in October,’ he said. ‘However, this is only a planning approval. It does not mean the decision is right.’

Construction of the centre is expected to start next year and open in 2015.