MRA development proposal in Subiaco described by councillor as ‘god-awful disaster’

STATE Government developer the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) has been blasted for a proposed seven-storey block described as a “god-awful disaster” in the last stages of a four-decade development in Subiaco.

“It sort of reminds me of compact areas in Asia where there’s no air around the building,” City of Subiaco councillor Murray Rowe said.

Last Tuesday, the council received a 114-signature petition criticising the design of the 83-apartment, one shop block the MRA proposes in Roydhouse Street as part of its long-standing construction of the Subi Centro development, which started in the 1980s.

Councillors agreed with residents that the block was two storeys too high, did not have proper setbacks, had a lack of parking bays, breached line of sight guidelines and did not increase amenity for residents.

Cr Rowe said unless the council opposed the proposal, similar designs would be proposed at Subi Centro and the now-vacant Subiaco Oval.

The council’s design review panel contested the block’s liveability because of issues including a potential lack of internal light, placing too many apartments in the block to maximise profit and not having enough elements from WA Design guidelines in the proposal.

However, ability to control the block’s design and future proposals was challenged by Cr Mark Burns, who said the MRA was now ending its work at Subi Centro by finishing off a few remaining small sites

“The thing has been a god-awful disaster, but it is a disaster that’s almost over,” Cr Burns said.

After refusing the MRA’s referral of the design to the council, councillors also directed staff to produce a report on the increased densities being proposed by the authority, their effect on amenity and any economic imperatives that may be imposing the blocks on the community.

“It’s a matter of saying ‘enough is enough’, and these are not good outcomes for the city,” Cr Paul Clements said.

A staff report said the MRA proposed seven storeys because of the quality of their design, the sixth storey being setback and approval for a similar development in the area recently.