St Ives in Jolimont is a retirement village, one of the best in Perth. It was designed and built under the supervision of the Subiaco Redevelopment Authority. The residents love the community feel, spacious homes, community facilities, and the consistent approach to its design and streetscape.
In September 2017, the RAC which owns St Ives hired TPG to submit a development application for six storeys, 25 apartments with 2,650sqm of floor space on a 1,028sqm lot on the site known as Lot 12 Bishop Street. The development application included a plan to amalgamate Lots 11 and 12 to be part of the retirement village and stated the following:
The amalgamation will facilitate a cohesive and logical land tenure arrangement for the entire St Ives site. At the time of writing (15 June 2017), all conditions relating to the subdivision approval have been cleared and the deposited plan approved by the WAPC and the lot is now “In Order for Dealings’. It is expected the new Certificate of Title will be issued in the coming months, Ref TPG Place Match, Lot 12 Bishop Street Jolimont, Development Application, June 2017, p. 3.
The residents were outraged at the non-compliance:
- The plot ratio (floor space) exceeded the R60 zoning of 0.7:1 to be 2.91:1
- The six storeys proposal was inconsistent with the four storey height limit of the existing village and Urban Character of the built form and streetscape. It appears as a high-rise block of flats, separate to the rest of the low-rise dwellings of St Ives.
- Overshadowing exceeded 50% of the site area for the adjacent residential homes and common room in the Townshend building at St Ives. (Building height 16.84m, 21 June shadow length: 24.24m, shadow over driveway 14.8m, shadow over existing residences and common room 9.6m)
- The applicant claimed in its submission there was no overshadowing , the planning staff believed them, but the residents proved them wrong!
- Non-compliance with Clause 42 of the Scheme. Six storeys did not enhance the privacy or stop overlooking of the existing St Ives homes, nor did it preserve the Urban Character of the existing housing stock of the St Ives village.
- The applicant wanted extra wall height – 14.2m and overall height of 11.2m – which breaks the rules of the Local Planning Scheme.
- The development proposed using the same driveway used by another building and two pedestrian access points. A traffic management plan would be approved after the building was built, not designed into the development to eliminate hazards for pedestrians and vehicles.
- The loss of two magnificent street trees.
The Subiaco planning officers recommended APPROVAL to the Development Assessment Panel (DAP) in spite of the residents’ objections, the R-Codes deemed to comply, rules of the local planning scheme (TPS4) and other Subiaco policies.
Subiaco Council voted to recommend refusal of the application on 5 September 2017:
On 26 September 2017, the DAP resolved to defer its decision so the applicant could fix the overshadowing, privacy issues and demonstrate how the entry/exit to the development could operate safely. Residents celebrated this small victory!
The applicant appealed to the State Administrative Tribunal for a mediation to gain an approval for the six storey development. To RAC’s credit, a statement from a St Ives resident at mediation was permitted, but not their attendance in the negotiations.
The amended application came back to Subiaco planners with the overshadowing fixed. Again planners recommended approval without fixing the plot ratio, design, height, and significantly the hazards of the entry/exit to the buildings for pedestrians and vehicles.
On 9 March 2018 the DAP approved the non-compliant six storey development using their powers of discretion and design merits. Significantly, the DAP made Subiaco planning staff responsible to orchestrate some rules over how pedestrians and vehicles will navigate each other in the congested driveway. The developer was let off without any design changes imperative to the safety of pedestrians, and the RAC possibly not be responsible for any damages that arise from this poorly designed building.
DAP members: Megan Adair (Presiding Member), Clayton Higham (Deputy), Fred Zuideveld (Specialist Member), Cr Murray Rowe, Cr Derek Nash.
Cr Julie Matheson, City of Subiaco