Wanneroo Council refuses to rezone Landsdale residential sites for medical centres

An artist’s impression of the Pollino Gardens medical centre, pharmacy, child care centre and cafe.
An artist’s impression of the Pollino Gardens medical centre, pharmacy, child care centre and cafe.

WANNEROO Council knocked back two applications to rezone residential land for medical centres in Landsdale, despite a doctor shortage.

Two reports on the first council meeting agenda for 2019 related to separate applications to change the east Wanneroo structure plan to allow medical centre developments at 390 Kingsway and 42 Pollino Gardens.

A needs assessment by Urbis found there would be a shortage of eight doctors in the area by 2021 and 18 by 2026.

Neil Teo from Dynamic Planning said the Kingsway proposal for a former strawberry farm sought to allow medical centre and pharmacy uses on the residential zoned site.

Mr Teo said the landowners were considering ideas for a retirement village on the adjoining land, so the medical use would make it more appealing to a potential developer.

“The community itself has expressed support,” he said, noting 121 of the 158 submissions received in public consultation support the proposal.

Urbis director Tim Dawkins said the Pollino Gardens site was “an awkward triangle” that previously lay on the other side of Gnangara Road before it was realigned.

“There have been three prime ministers since we started thinking about this site,” he said.

The proposal presented at the February 5 council meeting included a medical centre, pharmacy and cafe, as well a child care centre which Mr Dawkins said was already permitted on the site.

He said a medical centre was appropriate because there was a shortage of doctors and it would service the neighbouring Wangara industrial area as well.

“The proposal would provide for 45 jobs, including jobs associated with the doctors’,” he said.

“Employment self-sufficiency in the area is extremely low.”

Mr Teo also said the Kingsway proposal would improve employment self-sufficiency levels for the suburb.

An artist’s impression of a medical centre and pharmacy in Landsdale.

In moving a staff recommendation to refuse the Kingsway change of use, councillor Brett Treby said he was conflicted.

“There is absolutely an identified need for providing medical facilities within the Landsdale area,” Cr Treby said.

He likened the application to a “cart pulled before the horse” and said he would have preferred to have received an application for the adjacent retirement village first.

The residential use permits a retirement village, but councillors raised concerns that such a development was not guaranteed.

“If that retirement village doesn’t go ahead, would that commercial development be right up against residential properties – that would be a bad outcome,” Cr Treby said.

Cr Domenic Zappa moved the Pollino Gardens recommendation and said it was important to have “proper, orderly planning process”.

“There are commercial zones in Landsdale that are capable of housing medical and pharmacy facilities,” he said.

Crs Linda Aitken and Hugh Nguyen spoke against the recommendation and in support of having medical centres on the site, acknowledging there were medical facilities at Landsdale Forum farther south.

“There’s almost nothing in terms of medical facilities up in the northern part of Landsdale – it makes a lot of sense to allow the application,” Cr Nguyen said.

Mr Dawkins said the developer already had approval to build 28 grouped dwellings on part of the Pollino Gardens site.

At last week’s council briefing session, planning and sustainability director Mark Dickson said administration recommended refusal because medical centres were a prohibited use in residential zones.

Mr Dickson said medical centres were permitted on existing vacant commercial sites in Landsdale although development might be “some time off” and there were no guarantees it would include medical facilities.

Map showing existing medical centres, proposed sites and commercial lots in Landsdale.