A GROUP of Swanbourne residents has won an eight-year battle to have a zoned R20 block claimed to be worth $1 million returned to the wild at McKenzie Bush, Fern Street, west of Lake Claremont.
“It’s just fantastic, and it’s a relief,” Geoff Kimpton, who lives adjacent to the block, said, after Claremont councillors agreed to the change on Tuesday.
Mr Kimpton said the 685 sq m block on the street had been regarded as bush by residents for more than 80 years.
He said neighbours had purchased their properties thinking it would stay as bush because of a Claremont Council policy to support “protecting and increasing trees in streets, parks and public places”.
Residents’ maintenance of the block has included weeding and collecting rubbish, while the council has put in plants and mowed the site after 55 residents at a special electors meeting resolved to have the undeveloped site returned to green space in 2010.
However, at the time the council retained the block’s R20 residential status despite it being on what was claimed to be a dangerous hair-pin bend.
Last year, it resolved to turn it into a local reserve, which prompted public consultation until April, which produced six comments, including two against the proposal.
A staff report said one of the opponents claimed the block was worth “$900,000 -$1m” and its sale could benefit all residents when there was already 11ha of bush nearby.
The other comment said a sale could fund improvement to nearby “poor condition” McKenzie Pavilion.
“This was likely to have not been a full plot anyway, as they would have had to have had setbacks,” resident Marilyn Van Niekerk said.
The council’s proposed change will now be considered by the Minister for Planning.