Subiaco: York Street battle between residents, Fresh Start and City heads to Supreme Court

The former Ronald McDonald House in York Street, Subiaco.
The former Ronald McDonald House in York Street, Subiaco.

SEVEN Subiaco residents, the City of Subiaco and Fresh Start took their York Street battle to the Supreme Court today.

The residents were challenging a decision made by councillors last year against officer advice to extend non-conforming use approval at 16-20 York Street, previously the Ronald McDonald House base and now Fresh Start lodging house.

Justice Allanson reserved his decision on the matter, with a verdict expected in the next few months.

The hearing spanned around four hours at the David Malcolm Justice Centre.

Martin Cuerden SC spoke on behalf of the residents and mentioned five affidavits, two of which referred to supplied videos of incidents on the street.

Justice Allanson said the effect on amenity was irrelevant to the question of whether the decision to extend the use was valid.

“Your argument is it would make no difference if retired nuns were in the lodging house,” he said.

The justice said he would proceed on the basis use was continuing and had not changed.

Mr Cuerden said the approval given to the York Street property needed a development application to be made.

“There is no question in these proceedings that the decision made in May 2017 was made without development approval put before council,” he said.

Ken Pettit SC spoke on behalf of the City of Subiaco, and said using the clause from the town planning scheme where a local government can grant planning approval was not uncommon.

“There is no reason the city should not have this power,” he said.

Julius Skinner SC represented the Fresh Start operators and said there was no change of use involved.

“There’s no need to apply for a development application if what you’re seeking doesn’t involve development,” he said.

Justice Allanson said there was not agreement between parties whether the use was continuing.

He reserved his decision and adjourned all questions until a later date.