Perth Hills no place for urban development: SPH

Save Perth Hills applauds the Shire of Mundaring’s decision to tell land developers outdated urban mass developments have no place in the increasingly volatile hills.
March 21, 2024

SAVE Perth Hills (SPH), has applauded the Shire of Mundaring’s decision last week at its full council meeting to tell land developers that dangerously outdated urban mass developments have no place in Mundaring shire’s increasingly volatile hills.

“Council’s unanimous decision, to support a Rural Residential (RR) subdivision plan for North Parkerville, delivers another blow to the relentlessly rejected sprawling urban North Stoneville plan by Australia’s biggest private land developer, Satterley Property Group, and its business partner, WA’s Anglican Church Diocese,” SPH deputy chair Debra Bishop said.

SPH’s opposition to North Stoneville’ is now in its 33rd year. On March 12, before an over-flowing public gallery, Mundaring shire councillors supported the RR subdivision plan for a 190-hectare site at North Parkerville, located across the road from the proposed North Stoneville urban townsite.

EastCourt, North Parkerville’s landowner, released a revised RR plan to the community in December. Their original 1990s ‘urban’ plan proposed up to 740 suburban lots for 2000 people.

The revised plan is for just 67, 2.6-hectares (five-acres) and larger lots, for 200 people, with firefighting tanks on every site.

Councillors acknowledged the shire officers’ position that the RR plan supported a lower-density outcome and the shift away from urban.

Ms Bishop, said the decision leaves the 'North Stoneville’ plan languishing in awkward urban isolation.

“The developer’s decision to overturn their 1990s urban plan for a RR approach, recognises the hills’ 21st century bushfire dangers, reaffirms the semi-rural amenity of this region, and severely undermines the planning viability of urban North Stoneville,” she said.

“North Parkerville will have no need to share costs, or use North Stoneville’s major infrastructure, including a wastewater treatment plant, as Satterley had intended.

“North Stoneville’s 1990s inspired urban townsite is fast disappearing into planning oblivion.”

Council’s decision reinforces the community and shire’s desire to rezone ‘North Stoneville’ back to ‘rural’.

SPH and Mundaring Shire Council lodged rezoning applications with WA’s Planning Commission (WAPC) in 2020.

No government agency objected. The rezone option remains on the WAPC’s table.

“It’s time for Satterley and the Anglican Church to demonstrate humility, surrender their doomed urban aspirations, and spare ratepayers and taxpayers massive cost burdens of appealing inevitable rejections,” Ms Bishop said.

“The North Parkerville plan also satisfies the long-standing community and council desire for appropriate planning that can bring growth to Mundaring shire while offering environmentally sustainable outcomes, and, importantly, is responsive to increasing bushfire challenges.

“North Stoneville has failed dismally to evolve around Perth Hills’ increasingly dangerous planning constraints,” Ms Bishop said.

The WAPC will make the final decision on North Parkerville in about six weeks.

Meanwhile, the Shire of Mundaring has unanimously supported a rural residential subdivision application at Lot 9503 Lake Valley Terrace, in Parkerville, acknowledging that the proposal represented a lower-density development outcome for the North Parkerville townsite.

At its Ordinary Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 12 council supported a rural residential subdivision and requested the applicant and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage continue consultation with the Shire of Mundaring to ensure a better balance between bushfire risk management, biodiversity conservation and landscape amenity and contribute to the upgrade of local roads outside of the subdivision area.

Shire President Paige McNeil said the shire was committed to responsible and sustainable planning and development.

“One of our greatest challenges is to achieve a balance between biodiversity conservation, bushfire risk management and amenity. This plan goes a long way to achieving that balance and the shire will continue to collaborate with the applicant to ensure the best outcomes for our community and our environment,” she said.

“Council also has an expectation that any development application within the shire that requires forest clearing, be self-referred to the Environmental Protection Authority.

“Council is confident that this subdivision provides a more appropriate development outcome compared to the original urban style Structure Plan 33.”

The council also requested the applicant to concurrently rezone the subject area from 'Urban Deferred' to 'Rural' under the Metropolitan Region Scheme and from 'Development' to 'Rural Residential' under Local Planning Scheme No 4.

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