Reform to change planning
COUNCIL mergers are a reason for new planning rules and a rewritten text guiding local building schemes at merged councils, according to the State Government’s Blueprint for Planning Reform.
“The new model scheme text, and its strengthened deemed and model provisions, will be applied to each new jurisdiction, both assisting the process of preparing new schemes, and ensuring consistency of schemes across the metropolitan region at the earliest opportunity,” the blueprint said.
It said mergers would help new planning rules announced by Planning Minister John Day recently that included unelected development assessment panels (DAPs) deciding on $2 million-$10 million buildings and houses that comply with R-Codes not needing development applications.
Changes to the Metropolitan Region Scheme (MRS) that sets out roads, suburbs and shops across Perth and councils’ town planning schemes will occur at the same time, but changes to the template used to write town planning schemes were undisclosed.
Mr Day said new homes would be cheaper and easier to build by “realigning and simplifying” land rezoning, and concurrent MRS and planning schemes changes would avoid situations such as a three-year delay for 1000 houses in Forrestdale in 2003-04.
He said single houses and up to 10 residential units would not be considered by DAPs, the Department of Planning would get resources to deal with more applications and the community consultation would still be at local government level as councils’ strategic planning policies and planning schemes would guide the panels. Developers and building applicants facing delays have long argued for uniform planning rules across Perth but Claremont Mayor Jock Barker said the Government’s changes reduced local governments’ relevance in anticipation of amalgamations, supported developer-led planning and did not recognise local policies that protected residential areas’ character.
A quarter of development applications are for homes worth over $2 million in Nedlands, where Mayor Max Hipkins said more DAP approvals would prevent neighbours’ and councillors’ comments, and the DAP system, which already drained department funds, would be flooded with applications.