STIRLING city council is seeking legal advice on whether it can overturn approval for Perth College to bulldoze four homes in the city’s heritage protection zone.
The elected council recommended unanimous rejection of the demolition application but the decision was in the hands of the Barnett government-appointed local development assessments panel, which gave it the green light.
The prestigious college aims to bowl over the four Lawley Crescent homes to build a multi-million dollar centre for senior students.
“I have been approached by members of the local community and the Mount Lawley Society who want to know what we are going to do about this,” says Cr Rod Willox, who won support for seeking legal advice.
“I believe that there is some ground for a challenge based on the DAP basing its decision on a consultant’s heritage report.
“At the end of the day, we voted unanimously against the demolition, a lot of the community don’t want it, but the DAP has ignored our concerns.”
Mount Lawley Society member Paul Collins says the demolition is contrary to the character retention guidelines for Mt Lawley, Menora and Inglewood.
“I welcome council’s move to seek a legal opinion,” he says.
“I have been concerned for some time about the DAPs meeting, their administrative law obligations, and in this case there were a number of errors and omissions in the heritage report which the Mount Lawley Society pointed out to DAP so the legal opinion will be very interesting.”
At the time of the council’s rejection recommendation, Perth College principal Jenny Ethell said the college had tried, where possible, to re-purpose heritage buildings and had previously refurbished two on Queens Crescent.
“The properties are zoned for educational purposes but do not meet the standards for universal access for people with disabilities, nor are they of the appropriate structural integrity to enable being included in a new development,” she had said.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK