Government town plan angers Nedlands mayor

Government town plan angers Nedlands mayor

NEDLANDS Mayor Max Hipkins is angry about the State Government potentially imposing more new dwellings before 2050 than his council agreed to in a new town planning scheme given a ministerial nod yesterday.

“Nedlands does understand the need for higher density, but it should be done in a consultative manner and not in a high-handed way,” Mr Hipkins told ABC Radio.

A draft of the city’s new town planning scheme was initially advertised for comment with 9000 more units.

However, Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said she would sign off on another version of the scheme.

Today, Mr Hipkins said that version had removed about a quarter of the lots which would have greater density.

He estimated it would have about 7000 new units, while the Government claimed it was 4500.

Renewing Nedland’s 1985-written Local Planning Scheme No.3 (LPS3) started in 2002, and the draft had attracted more than 1000 public submissions at the end of 2017.

There was community concern about density creeping into suburban streets near centres of activity, and density being too great in some areas, but others wanted to build for the future.

The government claimed the council did not respond to the points, and failed to recommend solutions, in a draft plan that went to the WA Planning Commission seven months ago.

Announcing her version of the scheme, Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said the Government would sign off on LPS3 with infill created using “well-designed higher densities” near Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre, the University of WA, Waratah Avenue and parts of Stirling Highway.

Mr Hipkins said the Government had “changed the goal posts” after it was previously agreed to 4400 new homes that were then knocked back.

“When we got the draft LPS 3 for public advertising the number had been changed to 9000,” he said.

He refuted the Government’s claim Nedlands had a static population of about 20,000 since the 1960s that could increase with more housing choices close to the CBD.

“We’ve got two army bases, parks and the coast that make this difficult, Stirling Highway is the only major transport route and Main Roads has said you can’t increase density without increasing traffic,” he said.

However, Ms Saffioti said 75 per cent of Nedlands would not be changed in the Government-backed LPS3, which focused on having new homes in activity areas.

“The aim of increasing density and updating old local planning schemes is clear – to plan for increased population near existing infrastructure such as public transport, healthcare and schools,” she said.