DAP’s in the firing line

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PropertyESP recently attended the UDIA lunch with Alannah MacTiernan, Federal Member for Perth, who spoke about her views on Perth’s planning and the DAPs.

Following from her time as WA’s Planning Minister, Alannah was very keen to reintroduce the concept of democratic planning.  This methodology focuses on involving people (i.e. the community and stakeholders) in the planning process, in order to create a design that meets everyone’s needs.

In its truest form, democratic planning is an ideal model and one which Samantha Reece utilised herself when she was CEO of SMR.

However it appears the former Minister has been using this model to discredit the DAP process.

She recently held a session with 100 attendees in Mt Lawley and this drew criticism for the DAP process and the fact that residents had no sway over their own communities.

However as Samantha Reece pointed out to Alannah at the lunch – if you were to put 100 developers into a room, the feelings towards DAPs would be very different and if the process was to be truly democratic, there needed to be a cross section of the community represented.

Alannah’s main criticisms of DAPs were two-fold: the lack of elected members on the DAPs and lack of transparency with final planning  decisions.

Alannah felt that elected members needed to be involved in the process to reflect the views of their communities.

And then she spoke of the Bayswater town centre development, which had a two storey height limit. This had been revised to five stories (under pressure), and yet the DAP awarded seven stories.  Alannah felt that it was inappropriate that the DAP did not take into regard the City’s wishes or their planning scheme with this decision.

For us at PropertyESP, it was quite clearly the case that the DAP believed that the most appropriate height for the town centre to provide continued economic viability was in fact seven stories.

And while Alannah very cleverly pointed out that the DAP process is more expensive and not any faster than the normal Council approval process, what she failed to acknowledge was that some Councils are still sitting on the same Town Planning Scheme as they were 20 years ago.

There is no doubt that DAP’s have some aspects still to be ironed out, but they definitely have a role to play in Perth’s future.   Our concern at PropertyESP is that some parties have DAPs in their firing line and that would not be a positive outcome for the Perth development sector – at all!

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4 comments

  1. Since when is the economic viability of a town centre, based on height limits, a valid consideration when determining a development application? And since when is it OK to ignore an LPS (for the sole reason) that is 20 years old?
    Bayswater’s LPS makes no mention of either economic viability or age of the LPS, as being a valid matter to take into account in decision making. Case law says it is OK to consider a new draft LPS or amendment if it is a seriously entertained proposal. Seems not to have been the case here though.
    If you are correct about the reason for that DAP’s decision, this proves that it made a rogue decision.
    The DAPs have discredited themselves by their abuse of discretion. Alannah is just the messenger.
    Planning approval powers have been returned to local govts in the east and their DAPs scrapped except for state significant development. It is just a matter of time until the same thing happens here.
    The fact that LPS are 20 years old does not in any way rebut, as you tried to do, the fact that DAPs are slower, more expensive and DAP decisions are the subject of more SAT appeals relatively than under the old system.

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  2. I was at that meeting with Alana. She absolutely made it very clear that Cities and Towns need to tighten up their Town Planning Schemes. She also made it clear that she was not opposed to development, just development done with a driver of profit over community amenity. Smart development that has design excellence, retains healthy environmental green spaces for enhanced climate regulation and quality of life, and development which does not overshadow inherent character of communities, will add value to our communities and offer living options for a growing population. One very successful developer recently stated “to be successful I have to ALWAYS do what I say I am going to do. I cannot make false promises to get approvals. I need to understand what the whole community needs and offer to add value. Then the next time I don’t have everyone angry and I get the approvals.” This is what we need more of! Not developers who mislead, play games with the fine print, take advantage of a DAP or SAT process that is not democratic, and then decend on communities creating havoc and damages for the next 2 years while claiming they are not responsible for their project management and blaming the tradies. Just look at the mess of Blackburne Property Group’s Aria build in Swanbourne. The execution of that build and damages to the community has been shocking. The system as it stands is very flawed.

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