WAPC guts plan

THE WA Planning Commission has thrown a spanner in the works of Stirling council’s plans to preserve the character of Beaufort Street north of Walcott.

The council’s Beaufort Street Local Development Plan took five years to put together and won a commendation award from the Planning Institute of Australia for its consultation, but that wasn’t good enough for the WAPC.

The commission altered the document before sending it to planning minister Rita Saffioti with changes labelled “silly” by Mount Lawley society president Paul Collins.

The changes pose “a significant threat to the heritage and character retention of Beaufort Street within Inglewood and Mount Lawley,” Mr Collins said. The society had collaborated on the document.

One section the WAPC scrubbed was a requirement for new developments to fit in with one of the four pre-1960s architectural styles along that strip.

• Stirling mayor Mark Irwin, Mount Lawley Society president Paul Collins, and supporters of the plan to preserve that Beaufort feel. Instead of “say cheese,” we cheekily went with “sack the WAPC!” Everyone seemed on board with the sentiment.

Mr Collins said the clause was added to ensure Inglewood’s iconic town hall clock didn’t end up surrounded by glass cages, but wasn’t intended to be a prescription for exact copies.

“It may well, for example, mean a developer will pick a style such as art deco and do a modern interpretation of that style by focussing, for example on horizontal masonry lines,” Mr Collins says.

Another change requires all new development to be a minimum of two stories along the three kilometre stretch fronting Beaufort Street.

“Forcing landowners to ensure any new build is two storey is draconian and inappropriate for a major three-kilometre heritage precinct.

“It is also an infringement on the freedom of individual property rights and one could be excused for thinking the minister is seeking advice from an overseas planning commission, perhaps in Moscow or Beijing.”

At last week’s council meeting, a majority of councillors (save Giovanni Italiano) voted to write to the minister requesting the changes be deleted before the final rubber stamping.

Mt Lawley MP Simon Millman says: “I’m eager to see the heritage and architectural character of our local area protected. I look forward to working with the minister so that we can arrive at an outcome the community is happy with.”

The plan also stretches into Maylands MP Lisa Baker’s electorate and she likewise wants the heritage character protected and says she’ll seek more information from the minister.

by DAVID BELL

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