Laneway fight delays decision on Dalkeith apartments

A decision on the proposed Waratah Apartments in Dalkeith has been postponed.
A decision on the proposed Waratah Apartments in Dalkeith has been postponed.

A SQUABBLE between the City of Nedlands and developers over a planned laneway is delaying a decision on a $9 million development proposed by Dalkeith multi-millionaire Peter Larsen.

The Metro West Development Assessment Panel last week deferred consideration of an application for a five-storey mixed use building at 95A Waratah Avenue so both parties could potentially reach a compromise on a laneway that is proposed as part of a City draft policy currently out for public comment.

Landowner Village Cinema Dalkeith, of which Mr Larsen is a majority stakeholder, say they have waited two-and-a-half years to lodge their application to coincide with the creation of the laneway that would provide the main access for the 14 units, three office spaces and basement carpark.

But director John Vickers said there was “no prospect of a suitable solution within a reasonable timeframe”.

He told the panel they had made three previous requests to the City for temporary access.

A laneway currently runs behind neighbouring properties to the east but does not extend far enough to provide rear access for the proposed apartments, with Waratah Avenue the only existing entry and exit point.

The City recommended the panel refuse the application because it was seeking public feedback on a draft policy that would guide creation of the laneway behind 95A and the adjacent hall and Nedlands Community Centre site, which it owns.

Presiding member Francesca Lefante believed the project had a “significant amount of benefit” for the precinct but understood issues with some design aspects.

The plan will return to the panel within 60 days to give the developer time to make changes and liaise with the City.The City is also working on the Waratah Village local development plan, which would potentially see the City site developed and vehicle access provided between the two sites.

Nedlands councillor Kerry Smyth described street front access as a “very bad outcome” and Mr Vickers said though not their preference, Waratah provided the only current legal access.

A City representative countered it was “unfortunate” the proponent could not wait for the City to present the policy to council.

The City also had concerns about insufficient parking, landscaping, setbacks and street front activation.

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