About “Como for the Community”.
Como for the Community is a large group of residents formed to provide a community voice in relation to a recent re-zoning amendment proposal (‘Amendment 63’) submitted to the City of South Perth (COSP).
The amendment proposal was made by a small group of developers/landowners in relation to the Como neighbourhood shopping precinct on Preston street. If approved the re-zoning would lead to a large scale development up to a height of 13 storeys, in an area presently designated as a “neighbourhood centre”. This development would be greatly in excess of what is desired by residents, or considered appropriate for an area such as Preston Street. It would not be in compliance with definitions of a “neighbourhood centre” in the State Planning Policy (SPP7.3). It would also undermine the focal street presence of the heritage Art Deco Cygnet theatre, ‘preserving’ it only by means of perfunctory façadism.
The COSP public consultation on this proposal has revealed massive resident opposition. Submissions against were far in excess of any in support. Further, a petition of local residents using the Preston Street shopping precinct yielded nearly 500 signatures in the space of six hours.
On the 26 May at the COSP council meeting, council members discussed and agreed on an alternative amendment reducing the scale and height limits of buildings to 4 storeys (increasing to a maximum of 6 storeys at the lowest point of the site), limits that will still allow for substantial development, while of a nature and scale that is appropriate to the neighbourhood, and in keeping with existing criteria for a “neighbourhood centre” as defined in the State Planning Policy.
We understand this alternative amendment will now be forwarded by COSP for review by the Western Australian Planning Commission, which will then make recommendations to the Minister for Planning.
Both the community and the intending developer have obtained an outcome from the process so far; the developer through increased development potential for the area covered by Amendment No. 63, and the community through a more acceptable level of development at a scale more in keeping with a “neighbourhood centre”. We note that, if development decisions of this sort were fast tracked at any stage, without input through the usual local government planning process, there would be significant risk that the views of community would be overlooked.