Earlier this year there was an application for a 29 storey development on the Mill Point Peninsula, an area that previously only permitted buildings up to 8 storeys. On hearing of this a group of South Perth residents formed an action group “SAVE THE SOUTH PERTH PENINSULA” first up holding a public meeting where the Mayor agreed to convene a Special Electors Meeting if more than 250 ratepayers signed a petition. More than 450 signed within 48 hours.
Local residents are appalled and opposed to the development for numerous reasons including the height at 4 times (400%) greater than current properties, the overshadowing which will extend to the Freeway and Mends Street jetty, there has been no combined traffic studies into the congestion, pollution and parking, and the zero set back will interfere with the avenue of London plane trees which has been part of the peninsula heritage for almost a hundred years….. and a dozen other very valid reasons.
Throughout South Perth there was puzzlement and confusion about numerous mega-high rise developments suddenly being approved. Very few people had the opportunity to complain that the Council planners and JDAP were recommending and approving buildings vastly in excess of the heights which had been communicated in the Scheme consultation process. After numerous expert presentations at the first JDAP hearing the decision was deferred to glean more information from the State Architect amongst others.
At the Special Electors’ Meeting on 6 May residents voiced their concerns about the high rise developments being pushed through without adequate consultation or forewarning. Even the elected Councillors, expressed surprise and concern at how Amendment 25 was being interpreted and applied by the planning department and JDAP to allow skyscrapers where most people expected it would permit stepped development of 12 to 14 storeys.
The Special Electors meeting passed 5 Motions, calling on Councillors, among other things, to support a Local Planning Strategy – which had never been completed. On 20 May, the Council met to consider the motions and consequently the Mayor and two Councillors made representations against the development at the JDAP final meeting on 25 May. Two highly respected planning experts and a former Minister for Planning also spoke against the development as well as members of the Action Group.
Sadly all these representations fell on deaf ears – 74 Mill Point Rd was approved. Objectors have no right of appeal to SAT on the planning merits of the application, however, in this case the DAP made fundamental errors of law which are appealable to the Supreme Court.
Ric Hawley and Karyl Nairn, owners of apartments opposite the controversial 29 storey development filed an application in the Supreme Court to quash the decision of the Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) which granted development approval.
The challenge brought by Karyl and Ric says that Town Planning Scheme No.6 does not give the JDAP the power to approve a high rise residential building in the Peninsula. Under the Scheme buildings in the southern end of the Peninsula may only exceed the prescribed building height of 8 storeys where the development is predominantly commercial for the purpose of promoting the South Perth Station Precinct as an employment destination. In approving a predominantly residential development which is almost 4 times higher than neighbouring residential buildings, the JDAP ignored the plot ratio restrictions in the Scheme and (among many other failures) did not take proper account of the object of the Scheme.
The Supreme Court Case against JDAP was heard in front of Justice Chaney on 10 and 11 December 2015. Decision pending.