Council moves to ban childcare use in special residential areas

An artist's impression of the childcare centre.
An artist's impression of the childcare centre.

CONTROVERSY over a farm-style childcare centre in Banksia Grove has prompted a move to ban childcare uses from special residential zones.

In May, Wanneroo Council approved Atlantis Group’s revised plans for a childcare centre on Harbour Elbow despite opposition from residents that it would affect amenity of the area.

The council had refused the original application in October 2018, but the company appealed to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) and scaled down the proposal from 120 to 92 children.

The matter highlighted concerns about a range of discretionary non-residential land uses in special residential zones, prompting the City of Wanneroo to investigate changing District Planning Scheme 2.

“The impact of an individual non-residential use in a special residential zoned area can be properly managed through sensitive design and appropriate conditions,” a council report said.

“However, the cumulative impact of multiple non-residential uses in close proximity within a special residential zone will likely detract from the intended low density residential character.”

The special residential site between suburban Banksia Grove and rural Mariginiup.

The council supported changing ‘childcare centre’, ‘consulting room’ and ‘cattery’ uses from discretionary to ‘not permitted’, which will go out for public consultation following approval from the WA Planning Commission and Environmental Protection Authority.

With regard to a cattery use, the council report said noise and odour from a single cattery or accumulation of them could affect amenity of the zone.

At the council briefing session, planning and sustainability director Mark Dickson said the change would not affect Atlantis Group’s ability to build its approved childcare centre.

Mr Dickson said, once approved by the planning minister, it would prevent approval of any future proposals and could not be overridden by a development assessment panel or SAT.

Councillor Frank Cvitan said the change would protect lifestyles for people who “have invested a lot of money in their properties”.