No more dreaming, Vincent’s scheming

IT’S taken around a decade and four mayors but Vincent’s second local planning scheme is finally set in stone.

The scheme aims to preserve the amenity of neighbourhoods while encouraging medium and higher density developments on main streets.

Usually these schemes have a shelf life of five to 10 years, but Vincent’s been using Town Planning Scheme number 1 since the council’s inception in 1994.

It’s been an arduous process for the city to get the scheme approved, requiring sign offs from state government ministers and intense negotiations.

Vincent mayor Emma Cole—whose birthday fell on the same day the scheme was approved—says “it’s very significant, it’s been such a long time in the making, and it’s something that we’ve desperately wanted to have in place for a long time. It’s a modern scheme, and we were limping along without this.

“Before I embarked on council life I never understood how excited I’d be to have a scheme gazetted on my birthday.”

•  Vincent strategic planner Tim Elliott, MP John Carey, mayor Emma Cole, Claisebrook Collective’s Deborah Karajas and Vincent policy and place manager Steph Smith celebrate the city’s planning scheme finally arriving. Photo by Steve Grant.

The key points:

• Historic residential neighbourhoods will be retained, with suburbs like Mount Hawthorn, Mount Lawley and North Perth remaining predominantly single-storey and lower density

• Higher density will be allowed  along the city’s major roads, especially along high frequency bus routes

• The plan aims to allow for more vibrant town centres by expanding land uses, making it easier for businesses to change and adapt rather than going through planning hell to rezone an office for another use, like a cafe

One other major change is the rezoning of Claisebrook to force the eventual closure of the two concrete plants.

The two batching plants have been on continually-renewed five-year licenses, but under the new zoning they’ll be phased out so the area can be rejuvenated with mixed commercial and residential development.

Deborah Karajas from Claisebrook Collective, a new community group of residents and businesses, is hopeful the changes will rejuvenate the suburb.

“The Claisebrook Collective team believe the new planning scheme is a good next step towards realising the potential of this precinct as a more complete, liveable urban village,” she says.

“Our vision for the Claisebrook Station precinct is for a connected community, a thriving local economy, and smart, sensitive, sustainable development.

“We now hope to work closely with local and state governments to put in place a more detailed planning framework specific to the precinct, to help realise that vision.

“We want to see good quality, diverse housing options for all ages and stages and everyday amenities (including trades and services, not just cafés), so that it’s possible for people to live locally and put roots down. That’s when people start to really care about and invest in a place, making it a safe and friendly place to live and building a resilient local economy.”

Perth MP John Carey, who had a stint working on this local planning scheme when he was Vincent mayor, says “density is controversial at the moment, but I think this has got the right mix.

“We have to accept that we need to accommodate density in Vincent, but we want it done well.”

by DAVID BELL

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