Celsius rejected

Celsius arged a taller, more slender building was a better outcome than something bulky, but failed to convince Vincent council and the JDAP which rejected the application.

CELSIUS Property Group’s 13-storey apartment proposal for North Perth has been unanimously rejected by the Joint Development Assessment Panel.

CPG’s 373 Fitzgerald Street project, with two towers measuring 13 and 11 storeys, was opposed by a heavy majority of people living nearby.

Vincent council’s planning staff also opposed the plan, saying it was way out of line with the council’s own usual maximum height of six storeys in that area, and its bulk and scale would make for “a significant negative impact” in amenity to nearby homes.

But the decision rested with the state government’s JDAP, where state-appointed members can outvote elected councils and have discretion to overrule local planning laws if they think it’ll make for a good outcome.

CPG director Andrew Peirce argued at the JDAP meeting their tower design was a better outcome than something shorter and squatter that might be closer to the usual height limit, but the JDAP voted 5-0 to reject the designs. 

Vincent mayor Emma Cole attended the JDAP meeting to speak against the development, saying that compared to the council’s 2018 policy this development requested too much height, would provide too much overshadowing of neighbours, and offered too little in the way of setbacks from the edge of the block.

After the decision Ms Cole told the Voice: “The issue was really that the extent of discretion sought was really significant, and well beyond what we’d entertain in the [planning] scheme,” and had it been approved the decision would undermine the council’s local planning framework.

North Perth resident Neil Stacey lives across the laneway from the would-be apartment block, and was one of many locals who opposed the plans. After two years of this development looming, he says this week “people are elated. We’ve had people bloody jumping for joy.

Community power

“I think people were a bit wary of the process. But to the credit of the council and the planning department and JDAP, they really, I think, made the right decision.

“The public are not anti-development… we just want a quality build in the correct zoning, that’s all we ask.” 

Ashlee La Fontaine, who organised October’s public meeting opposing the plans, said the outcome “reflected the power of a community uniting to voice their concerns about a development that was non-conforming in height, bulk, scale, setback, as well as traffic and parking.”

Resident Emily Bird said “we can safely say that over 70 per cent of the North Perth community – including myself – are delighted with this result.

“We do know the battle is not yet over but there is a determined and cohesive mood within the community to continue fighting for our much-loved suburb to retain its diversity, character and history whilst being open to appropriate and sensitive change in response to increasing population needs.”

Celsius’ managing director Richard Pappas said: “We are disappointed in the decision which we feel has resulted in a very significant missed opportunity to deliver a landmark mixed- use development providing considerable housing choice and significant high quality retail into the North Perth town centre. 

“We appreciate the tremendous effort of our team and would like to thank the hundreds of supporters of our proposal.”

All up 163 submissions supported the project, and 304 were opposed.  The proportion of opponents grew the closer people lived to the site, as Ms Fontaine pointed out: “70 per cent of 

the submissions received from residents within North Perth objected to the development. Within a 200m radius of the site, three quarters of submissions objected.”

There’s no word yet on what Celsius’ future plans are for the block. 

by DAVID BELL

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