Subiaco dwelling targets too high, says councillor

City of Subiaco councillors voted 9-1 to send draft documents for new dwelling targets to the WA Planning Commission and Environmental Protection Authority.
City of Subiaco councillors voted 9-1 to send draft documents for new dwelling targets to the WA Planning Commission and Environmental Protection Authority.

A NEW local planning scheme and strategy that could deliver an additional 6200 dwellings in Subiaco is likely to be put to residents and business owners early in 2018.

But one councillor is concerned that dwelling targets are too high.

City of Subiaco councillors voted 9-1 last Tuesday to send the draft documents to the WA Planning Commission and Environmental Protection Authority for assessment, before they are put out for consultation.

State Government requirements for infill development in existing areas means the City will aim to have 6200 new dwellings by 2050, on top of the 8500 residential properties it has already.

But Councillor Peter McAllister believed adding thousands of new dwellings to areas including the Subiaco Activity Centre and North Subiaco could hurt the City’s identity as a “people-first” and “liveable” place.

“What is the soul of our City?” he said. “Now we’re losing football and we lost the markets a few years ago, they were the two things that were part of the soul of the City.

“I’m worried that by setting some of these targets so high, modern planning and architecture will create an abstract vision of what (Subiaco) should be.”

He said trips to high density areas in Melbourne had influenced his opinion.

“Through the strategy, it quotes all sorts of different numbers of possible dwellings and population…” he said

“We don’t discuss in the strategy what that means and how it impacts.”Cr Scott Arbuckle said the loss of part of south ward to the City of Perth had put the dwelling target in “some sort of contention”, but was confident the City would meet it if required while keeping “the essential character” of Subiaco intact.

“When the whole issue of Perth and Peel @ 3.5 million arose, that thinking was rooted in the resources boom of the late 2000s,” he said.

“I don’t see, unless there’s another (boom) around the corner, the pressure will be there to have 6200 dwellings in the City of Subiaco by 2050. I do see it as directional, I do see it as guiding, I do see it as indicative. But I don’t see it as a hard and fast target.”

Cr Stephanie Stroud said she was confident the vision was the right one, with more height needed to make housing affordable.

“We need more people living in Subiaco to keep us more sustainable, to add vitality and to add nightlife to our town centre,” she said.

Mayor Heather Henderson said the strategy and scheme tied in with other planning work including the Subiaco Activity Centre Plan, North Subiaco Structure Plan, and Transport, Access and Parking Strategy.

“Key priorities for the City in relation to strategic planning include the need to accommodate an increasing population, maintaining high levels of green space, ensuring there is adequate infrastructure and services for transport connections, and protecting the character of the area,” she said.

“It is important for council and our community that the unique character of the area is recognised and that development takes place in line with that character.”

She said the council would undertake extensive community consultation once the council hears back from the WAPC.