Swanbourne eco-apartment saga leaves architect warning to stay away from Cottesloe Council

The site of the proposed eco-apartment development in Swanbourne. Picture: Jon Bassett.
The site of the proposed eco-apartment development in Swanbourne. Picture: Jon Bassett.

AWARD-WINNING architect Garry Baverstock says anyone with original ideas should stay away from Cottesloe Council after his 2.5-year fight for eco-friendly apartments neared its end when councillors met last Tuesday.

Mr Baverstock criticised the lengthy process after councillors approved development of the site near Swanbourne train station, saying people should not pitch ideas to the council.

“Don’t do it, as you may age to 70 because it would take that long,” he said.

He said the apartments’ trust of 13 residents had lost about $1 million because of the delay, which resulted in a 2016 design for 13 units up to three storeys for downsizing older people being reduced by one floor, four apartments and seven car bays.

The design was backed by academics including Curtin University professor of sustainability Peter Newman because of its environmental systems, closeness to public transport and conformity with State planning policies.

“It’s disappointing, as we’ve lost the sustainability bonus in this lengthy process,” Mr Baverstock said.

Residents objected to initial plans, fearful the site’s rezoning to R60 threatened their precinct known as Claremont Hill.

But Planning Minister Rita Saffioti approved an amendment to Cottesloe’s planning scheme for the proposal earlier this year.

The council was left to decide on a local development plan for the site, before the reduced design was advertised for public comment until August 10.

Of the 140 submissions, 41 that backed the design and 18 against were from Cottesloe residents.

The remainder were from outside the suburb.

A development application for the new design is expected to be sent to the Metro West Joint Development Assessment panel next month.