Council cops blast for tall tower limits

The West Australian

28th November 2018.

A high-rise developer has made a blistering attack on the City of South Perth, accusing it of ignoring its town planning rules and pandering to a small group of “irresponsible boomers”.

Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly was responding to the council’s move to reject a 42-storey, $110 million apartment development opposite Perth Zoo because it is too high.

There is no height limit for buildings in the area under the town planning scheme.

The proposal is due to go to the Metro Central Joint Development Panel for determination next week. It is possible the panel could approve it, but it would be unusual to override a local government rejection.

“Let’s not forget that a 39-storey building on this site has already been approved,” Mr McNeilly said.

“What we are proposing is a more contemporary, slender tower design, 20 per cent less bulk, in the most appropriate location in the city’s special design area.

“The current (town planning scheme) doesn’t impose height limits. What it does allow is discretion, a concept which the city seems unable to grasp and prevents them from making any decision at all.”

Mr McNeilly conceded the council’s position could stall and ultimately stop the project.

He called on the State Government to regain control of planning on the South Perth peninsula.

“I hope the Government is paying attention to what is occurring in South Perth,” Mr McNeilly said.

Planning Minister Rita Saffioti declined to comment on any specific development before the JDAP but said: “The need for development in the South Perth activity centre is recognised.”

The City of South Perth has been under pressure from residents opposed to taller buildings on the peninsula.

Last month it voted to delay a draft activity centre plan that would have given certainty about how to apply height bonuses.

In its report on the Sirona development, it said the area near the Lyall Street Residences was expected to be more densely developed to cater for more residents.

The council conceded there was “no guidance as to ultimately how tall buildings should be” and “no endorsed” plan.

A group of residents opposed to taller buildings, the South Perth Peninsula Action Group, lobbied to delay the draft activity centre plan. It opposes the Lyall Street Residences. Spokeswoman Vicki Reddan backed the council’s refusal in an “eight-storey area”.

The City was asked to comment.