The City of Bayswater has again become embroiled in planning controversy, this time accusing the WA Planning Commission of “disregarding council recommendations and community feedback in its decision-making”.
Newly elected mayor Dan Bull made the comments about the WAPC after it forced the council to adopt a structure plan to allow for greater density, including building heights of up to six storeys for well-designed housing, within 800m of the under-used Meltham train station.
Mr Bull said the council had held workshops and public meetings about a proposed structure plan, prepared by Planning Solutions for Pindan and local landowners, for the Meltham station precinct.
He said the high level of feedback “speaks volumes about anxieties the proposed structure plan generated for much of the community”.
Mr Bull accused the WAPC of being out of touch and ignoring the community.
“This needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency,” Mr Bull said. “Why bother consulting … if you are going to ignore the feedback?”
However, not all landowners opposed the plan, with some residents appearing before the WAPC to argue for well-designed density near the Meltham station, where there has been lower-scale six-pack type development that has led to fewer green areas.
There are some shops close to the station but most are closed.
In its submission, residents’ action group Future Bayswater said more than 1500 households received information about the plan from the City of Bayswater.
This generated 153 responses against it, including 90 that were duplicates, and 137 responses for it. Future Bayswater said despite that, the council’s report reflected only the concerns of those opposed.
Future Bayswater has been campaigning for the development of a liveable, vibrant and connected area at Meltham and the Bayswater town centre.
The group, which argued in favour of the higher height limits within 800m of the Meltham station, said it was concerned about the City of Bayswater’s failure to adequately plan, leading to “degradation” around the Meltham station and in the Bayswater town centre and council’s failure to consider evidence in making decisions.
Future Bayswater spokesman Paul Shanahan said the WAPC not only listened to residents, it also adopted some of the suggested improvements.
“MetroNet is State Government policy and it’s not just a transport plan, it’s a housing plan and a plan for urban regeneration — and Meltham is sorely in need of that,” Mr Shanahan said.
“MetroNet is a massive opportunity for Bayswater, which has three train stations, Bayswater, Meltham and Maylands.
“We can leverage those regeneration benefits because we really need them.”