COTTESLOE ratepayers in low-density streets and councillors concerned about risking greater density elsewhere have stopped designer infill apartments for older people from being built near Swanbourne Railway Station.
“People are happy for development, but not in this opportunistic manner,” residents’ representative Siobhan Beilin said at a special meeting on Tuesday.
Ms Beilin, one of two people allowed to speak against the proposal at the Congdon Street and Railway Road intersection, said nearby residents had been confused and concerned by what appeared to be late consultation and technical planning language associated with the proposal.
The special meeting was required after councillors last month were split about reversing their April decision to change the apartment block from R20 to R65.
Proponent Swanbourne Village Trust, led by award-winning environmental architect Garry Baverstock, proposed a three-storey cluster of dwellings cut into the sloping block, with most of the investor-occupants coming from the area.
The proponents took the project to Council, which the State Government said must find 1000 infill homes by 2030, instead of a non-elected development assessment panel.
However, the Council’s strategic and community plans both set aside nearby streets as low density R20 in the precinct known as Claremont Hill, and councillor Sally Pyvis said future sites including the McCall Centre, Cottesloe Deaf School and town centre were for future infill.
“We do need development in Cottesloe, and across Perth full-stop, but it should be planned and not ad-hoc,” proposal opponent Cr Katrina Downes said.
However, Cr Mark Rodda said Council must act for all residents to find infill, and spot-zoning “must not be demonised” if it fitted with the council and Government plans.
Mayor Jo Dawkins said she could think of no better place for the type of development because Cottesloe had an ageing population and limited opportunities.
She, Cr Rodda and Cr Philip Angers supported the apartments, with five councillors against the development.
After the meeting, a frustrated Mr Baverstock said he did not know what he would do next.
WA Apartment Advocacy managing director Samantha Reece said five councillors being “swayed” by 55 submissions representing 0.007 per cent of the population showed more infill discussion was needed.