Rehab stoush

STIRLING council and the state government are at loggerheads over plans to sell off an old drug rehab site in Mt Lawley.

The site on Field Street was previously used by the WA Alcohol and Drug Authority, but has been vacant since the organisation relocated, and now the McGowan government is preparing to offload the land as part of its revenue-raising drive.

WA planning minister Rita Saffioti wants the site re-zoned to three-storey residential to cater for about 20 apartments, but the council’s planning committee says that would destroy the single-storey character of the area.

Strategic basis

“…It may set a precedent for owners of other sites to apply for their property to be rezoned with no strategic basis,” council officers wrote in a report.

“Development of multiple dwellings has taken place in the area, but this occurred circa 1960s before the area was deliberately downzoned to a low density zoning.”

The staffers noted that Stirling’s planning guidelines supported increased density along the Beaufort Street corridor, but not in surrounding areas.

Public consultation revealed that 53.4 per cent of respondents were against the re-zoning.

Mount Lawley Society president Paul Collins said they supported the government’s rezoning if the trees were retained in the north-east corner and there was parking access and egress at the rear right of way.

He says the council’s proposal of lower density would be an opportunity missed.

“Restricting the site to single residential R20 so close to the Mount Lawley town centre would be a huge opportunity lost to increase the vibrancy of the Mount Lawley town centre,” Mr Collins told the Voice.

“A single building of apartments opposed to five single residential buildings would also provide the opportunity for a better architectural outcome from a heritage perspective for such a prominent site.

“The society acknowledges that if the single residential density of our side residential streets are to be protected then density needs to occur on sites like this in a manner which is a win for everyone including those who support tree retention.”

The WAPC and Ms Saffioti will have final say.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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