City to modify Amendment No. 46 despite disappointment with changes from WA Minister for Planning

Media Release 25 January 2017
South Perth Station Precinct

The City of South Perth is preparing to modify its Town Planning Scheme Amendment No. 46 ‘South Perth Station Precinct’ by 31 January 2017, as it is legally required to, following a determination by the WA Minister for Planning, Donna Faragher.

While the City believes that the Minister’s changes to Amendment No. 46 (announced in December 2016) are not in the long-term interests of the local community there is no provision for any further appeal or public consultation. 

The City is currently working through the Minister’s significant changes and they will come into immediate effect once they are published in the Government Gazette.  

Among the Minister’s notable modifications are rejection of the City’s attempt to deliver greater certainty to residents and developers through absolute height limits in the South Perth Station Precinct as well as downgrading the requirements to provide commercial space that would have provided more local employment opportunities. 

“The City is deeply disappointed that the Minister has dismissed changes that would have aligned future development far more closely with the expectations of our residents,” Mayor Sue Doherty said. 

“Rather than delivering planning and development certainty that would benefit everyone, the Minister’s modifications introduce new subjective criteria into the process by allowing approval for additional height to be made on the basis of ‘exemplary’, ‘sensitive’ or ‘sophisticated’ design and ‘high levels of amenity’.

“This means that where developers are seeking additional height, it will be up to the decision maker, in most cases the Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP), to determine if the building meets these subjective criteria.

 “The City’s long-term vision has been to make the Precinct an attractive business location featuring a rich choice of employment. To achieve this, the City sought to promote commercial uses through plot ratio and height incentives to ensure a good balance of commercial and residential development and build a destination base to support a train station in the area. At the current time, it appears the WA Government is unable or unwilling to support the City in achieving this vision.

 “Residents have repeatedly voiced their dissatisfaction with planning and development outcomes in the South Perth Station Precinct. Amendment No. 46 would have addressed these concerns, however the public benefits and certainty the City was aiming to achieve have now been significantly diluted by the Minister’s changes.

 “All of this uncertainty makes it difficult for the City to accurately and holistically plan for the future infrastructure, parking, traffic and transport needs of our community if we cannot predict the scale of future developments.”

Major changes required by the Minister
The major modifications with significant implications for future development of the South Perth Station Precinct include:

• There will be no height limits as the maximum allowable building height has been removed

• Design Quality performance criteria have been expanded to include subjective criteria, relating to exemplary, sensitive and sophisticated design

• There can be continued development in the Peninsula area as it has not been removed from the ‘Special Design Area’

• Mixed development can have more residential and less commercial floor space as the minimum non–residential component for a mixed-use development with a plot ratio more than 3.0 has been reduced from 1.5 to 1

• For lots which have an area of less than 1700m2 and a frontage that is less than 25m, there will be no absolute minimum lot area or frontage required in order to approve development above the prescribed height limit

A number of additional minor modifications are also required which do not modify the intent of the City’s Amendment.  

Future steps
Whilst the City of South Perth is disappointed with Minister’s decision, the City will continue to work with the State Government in planning for the South Perth Station Precinct to ensure the best outcomes for the community.
The City is now reviewing the vision for the Precinct and undertaking a detailed study of place and design development for this area, in collaboration with community members and stakeholders.
The Place + Design project will build upon the previous research, planning and consultation efforts to establish a revised community-led vision for the precinct, as well as resolve a number of approval, design management and engagement challenges.
Specific recommendations will also deliver policy and Town Planning Scheme provisions with the aim to assist the City to improve implementation and to achieve the revised vision, design outcomes and desired community benefit Community members and stakeholders can get involved in the Place + Design project by registering their interest at
Amendment No.46 ‘South Perth Station Precinct’ was initiated to rectify anomalies, clarify ambiguities and strengthen performance criteria for building height variations relating to development provisions affecting the South Perth Station Precinct.
Following an extensive and comprehensive consultation period during which the community were provided with two opportunities to comment, in April 2016, the Council unanimously endorsed the amendment and it was referred to the WA Department of Planning in May 2016 before being sent to the Minister for Planning for determination.

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