THE quest to pack Perth with parked cars rolls on with another CBD development winning approval to install more bays than the rules usually allow.
The Perth Parking Policy, a joint manual by the state government and Perth city council birthed in 1999, has tried to limit the number of car bays in new buildings in order to cut down on traffic and encourage city-goers to walk or take public transport.
But it’s common for big developers to run roughshod over the policy, convincing various planning bodies to give them leeway by arguing their project won’t be viable with too few carbays because their swank inner-city residents or suited CBD-office workers won’t want to take the bus or ride a bike.
The latest project to beg for extra bays is The Trust Company Ltd’s $174 million, 21-storey office tower planned for Lot 5 St Georges Terrace. The tower is one of four being developed on the site, which stretches along Mill Street from Mounts Bay Road to St Georges Terrace.
Under the Perth Parking Policy the whole site should have a maximum of 175 tenant bays, but the developer initially asked for government approval to have 225.
The Department of Transport objected. A round of negotiations saw the developer lower their request from 225 to 224 (one bay was removed to install a fire control room).
The DoT’s still not happy with the car-heavy design and submitted an objection.
But the state’s Development Assessment Panel approved the design with a slight compromise of 219 bays at its January 23 meeting.
The 21-level tower supersedes a previously-approved 33-storey design. That’s not going ahead due to market conditions and a lack of prospective tenants for such a big building.
This project is also taller than the usual height limits allowed by the Parliament House Precinct planning rules of 1983, which were intended to
“maintain the visual prominence of Parliament House and the aesthetic quality of development in the area” and “to protect views between Parliament Hill and other important city elements” according to a WA Planning Commission report.
Those rules would limit buildings on this site to 18m, while this plan measures in at 91m.
But the 1983 rules have been ignored so often, and other bigger buildings have been put up nearby, that it doesn’t matter anymore. The WAPC report says: “The impact on Parliament House vistas to the river has been substantially compromised by existing development and the proposed development will therefore have negligible impact on remaining view corridors.”
by DAVID BELL