Presbyterian Ladies’ College plans sidelined for housing

PRESBYTERIAN Ladies’ College has failed to win the support of the Shire of Peppermint Grove for its plans to build a gym and playing courts on surplus land at the neighbouring Star of the Sea Catholic Church on Stirling Highway.

The council instead plans to approve apartments on the land in order to meet the State Government’s requirements for more high-density housing.

The Government’s Directions 2031 planning policy requires the council to plan for 500 new homes in 15 years, an increase of 80 per cent on the 649 properties currently in the 1.1sq km shire.

“The requirement for the sheer number of infill developments and new dwellings on such a small local authority is a difficult task, but we are confident we can get them through development on Stirling Highway, which is a central plank in our new town planning scheme,” Peppermint Grove chief executive John Merrick said.

In order to meet the quota, the council has earmarked spare land on the Star of the Sea Church site for future high-density R80 housing.

But PLC has been in talks with the church for a decade about the land and wants to use it to build a new gym, underground parking and hard courts.

At last month’s meeting, Peppermint Grove councillors decided to recommend to the Metro West Development Assessment Panel – which will ultimately decide on PLC’s application – that it refuse PLC’s request because it was contrary to the “proper and orderly” planning of the site.

PLC principal Beth Blackwood said the school was disappointed at the decision.

“This seems counter to community concerns to provide better education and facilities to engage young people in positive, healthy activities for wellbeing,” Mrs Blackwood said.