High-rise storm brewing again in Cottesloe

Six storeys at Sea Pines is too high for Keep Cott Low's John Hammond. Picture: Jon Bassett.
Six storeys at Sea Pines is too high for Keep Cott Low's John Hammond. Picture: Jon Bassett.

A HIGH rise argument is centring on a potential six-storey development at the low-rise Sea Pines site at Cottesloe Beach.

“The battle lines are being drawn, and Cottesloe residents and West Australians generally do not want high rise on Cottesloe Beach,” Keep Cott Low president John Hammond said.

The Seapines Property Group is currently working on initial concepts for short-stay apartments and a hotel at the site directly south of the Cottesloe Hotel.

In 2014, after a decade of controversy, the former State government enforced a new town planning scheme on the town that allowed up to six storeys at Sea Pines.

Moves made in 2009 to redevelop the site sparked residents’ accusations of bullying by previous proponent Skyride Enterprises, when attempts were made to buy 13 remaining units in the 28-apartment building.

Last week, the designers briefed Cottesloe councillors on any new design, before a planned development application to an unelected joint development assessment panel after July.

Mr Hammond said six storeys was too high because it would overshadow pine trees, grass and the beach, and it was an ambit bid because the planning allowed only five storeys.

“Say goodbye to Cottesloe as we know it,” he said.

However, Sea Pines Property group director Debbie White said the design would “comfortably” keep six storeys in the 21m allowed by the planning scheme.

Ms White said the site’s “significant” northward slope to John Street would be used to enable the extra floor needed to create 42 rooms so the hotel could provide the 21 per cent annual return expected by investors.

“The floors’ ceilings will have slightly lower heights, but still above the 2.4m minimum,” she said.

She said the design would not seek to alter setbacks or other rules set by the scheme, and the councillors had been briefed so they would be part of the process and not ridden over “rough shod”.

The development was being proposed now because WA’s building costs were lower and the United States and China were “awash” with investors’ money.

Councillors’ limited planning powers allow then to negotiate design concessions within the planning scheme before the development application goes to the JDAP, and a developer can take any contested decision or refusal to the State Administrative Tribunal.

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