COUN­CIL FAVOURS APART­MENTS ON CHURCH LAND

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By JON BAS­SETT

PRES­BY­TE­RIAN Ladies’ Col­lege has failed to win the sup­port of the Shire of Pep­per­mint Grove for its plans to build a gym and play­ing courts on sur­plus land at the neigh­bour­ing Star of the Sea Catholic Church on Stir­ling High­way.

The coun­cil in­stead plans to ap­prove apart­ments on the land in or­der to meet the State Gov­ern­ment’s re­quire­ments for more high­den­sity hous­ing.

The Gov­ern­ment’s Di­rec­tions 2031 plan­ning pol­icy re­quires the coun­cil to plan for 500 new homes in 15 years, an in­crease of 80 per cent on the 649 prop­er­ties cur­rently in the 1.1sq km shire.

“The re­quire­ment for the sheer num­ber of in­fill de­vel­op­ments and new dwellings on such a small lo­cal au­thor­ity is a dif­fi­cult task, but we are con­fi­dent we can get them through de­vel­op­ment on Stir­ling High­way, which is a cen­tral plank in our new town plan­ning scheme,” Pep­per­mint Grove chief ex­ec­u­tive John Mer­rick said.

In or­der to meet the quota, the coun­cil has ear­marked spare land on the Star of the Sea Church site for fu­ture high-den­sity R80 hous­ing.

But PLC has been in talks with the church for a decade about the land and wants to use it to build a new gym, un­der­ground park­ing and hard courts.

At last month’s meet­ing, Pep­per­mint Grove coun­cil­lors de­cided to rec­om­mend to the Metro West De­vel­op­ment As­sess­ment Panel – which will ul­ti­mately de­cide on PLC’s ap­pli­ca­tion – that it refuse PLC’s re­quest be­cause it was con­trary to the “proper and or­derly” plan­ning of the site.

PLC prin­ci­pal Beth Black­wood said the school was dis­ap­pointed at the de­ci­sion.

“This seems counter to com­mu­nity con­cerns to pro­vide bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion and fa­cil­i­ties to en­gage young peo­ple in pos­i­tive, healthy ac­tiv­i­ties for well­be­ing,” Mrs Black­wood said.

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