The new development has come to light only weeks after plans to further protect the prestigious tourism precinct were announced.
The owners of the property on the corner of West Swan Road and Harrow Street were given original planning approval by the City of Swan for the project more than 20 years ago. That approval was still deemed as valid last November due to a technicality over an amount of ‘substantial work’ already performed on the site.
A requirement for a second planning approval was made redundant because a concrete floor and ironwork that formed what was to have become part of a large shed was done after the original approval in 1995. That meant only a building permit was required to continue with the project. The owners were under no obligation to notify neighbours of any new construction.
The abnormality also means the conditions of the Swan Valley Planning Act (1995) do not apply to the project because the building permit was issued in 1994.
Concept drawings for the development are unavailable from the City of Swan ‘due to privacy issues’, leaving many residents in the dark on the proposal.
City of Swan chief executive Mike Foley said he could not confirm whether or not the proposal would meet the recommendations outlined for the amended Swan Valley Planning Act because it was yet to be drafted.
‘The planning approval was issued about 20 years ago in compliance with the planning approvals at that time,’ he said.
‘At the time the permit was issued, the zoning allowed for a restaurant and nursery at the site.
‘The plan for the development was appropriately set back from the road and is subject to landscaping requirements.’
Swan Valley Progress Association chairman Rod Henderson said he questioned whether the nursery component of the development was truly in line with the vision for the Swan Valley.
‘There have been a number of applications in the past for a nursery and all have attracted resentment from residents,’ he said.
‘The shed frame at this property has been a terrible eye sore on West Swan Road for a number of years and anything less than tourism would fall short of what the Valley stands for.’
Neighbouring property owner Rae Kelly said she was concerned there were no plans for traffic management surrounding the site.
The Advocate made attempts to reach the property developer for comment but he was unable to be contacted.