Whitfords expansion rejected

Last October, a development application to extend the eastern end of Whitford City was refused at a North West Metropolitan Development Assessment Panel meeting because there was no activity centre structure plan in place.

That plan has since been presented at a council meeting but City officers recommended it be refused.

A council document stated the draft Whitford activity centre structure plan did not ensure the future development would not adversely affect the surrounding locality, retail hierarchy and road network.

Some reasons given for refusal included an increase in retail floor space, increase in traffic and the need for transport, a scale of development not suited to a suburban setting and a lack of detail on staging and implementation.

The activity centre structure plan proposes to increase the retail floor space at Whitford City from 49,900sq m to 95,000sq m by 2031, with the majority by 2016 to support development of a department store.

However, the City’s independent review found floor space of 65,000sqm to 75,000sqm was the maximum that could be justified before the shopping centre would undermine the state planning policy’s activity centre hierarchy and have a negative retail impact on commercial centres within the cities of Joondalup, Wanneroo and Stirling.

At the meeting, Cr Teresa Ritchie referred to the council document stating the applicant would be likely to appeal against the council’s refusal at the State Administrative Tribunal.

Cr Ritchie asked what a possible outcome would be and the cost to defend the decision.

‘We as a council should not be fearful of standing up for the interests of our community in the event that an individual may decide to take a decision to an appeal,’ Mayor Troy Pickard said.

Planning and community development director Dale Page said it would be a significant appeal if it went through to a hearing and it would involve having to engage consultants.

‘This is the first activity centre proposal of this scale that is really testing the state planning policy and even if it goes to an appeal, it would be something that the City would find worth fighting because it is a critical issue for the City,’ she said.

The expansion includes a new supermarket and two-storey department store.