Common questions for locals, planners

Announced in 2019, East Perth’s Common Ground complex is expected to open in 2024. Design by Gresley Abas Architects.

PLANS for East Perth’s Common Ground homeless support accommodation have been approved despite some lingering concerns from nearby locals.

On March 1 the joint state government/Perth council Development Assessment Panel approved the 112-unit tower, which is based on a 1990s New York model of providing high-support housing to chronically homeless people. 

There are some conditions to the approval that’ll have to be met before the state can start building:  They’ll have to prove the design is liveable, because the current plan doesn’t include air conditioners in the units.

Air-con

Perth council planning staff have “raised concerns about the ability to provide a comfortable internal environment for future occupants of the building” the DAP report says. 

The state’s designers reckon the building is so energy efficient it’ll be fine with just fans, but the DAP required they “undertake Dynamic Thermal Modelling to demonstrate the dwellings can accommodate a comfortable internal environment without air conditioning”.

While the complex will have round-the-clock security and services on site, some nearby residents are still uneasy. 

Nine objections from nearby landowners were lodged, with the bulk coming from the Wellington Place apartments at 125 Wellington Street. 

The new building’s 17-storey height and overshadowing were among concerns, but most objections focussed on it being located there at all. 

“I believe that this is not the right location to house the homeless, as, amongst other things, there is a busy children’s playground almost directly opposite,” one objector wrote. “The social issues that are inevitable when there is a high concentration of people with mental problems will make the playground, and indeed the entire surrounding area, unsafe.”

Back when the plans were lodged in November 2021 Mr Carey told the Voice: “I do get some feedback from people saying ‘push these services outside of the city’.

“You find rough sleepers in the city because there is activity, there are people, they feel safer, there is a hospital – you need to have services in the city.” 

He said it’ll provide safe and secure accommodation, with wrap-around supports on site to help get people off the streets permanently.

It’s currently pegged for a 2024 opening.

by DAVID BELL

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