SPRA submission to Residential DPA

Evonne Moore as spokesperson for the St Peters Residents' Association, submitted a response to Residential Development (Zones and Policy Areas) Development Plan Amendment. Please read the full submission which is one of the many submissions received in response to the plan. On the 5th March 2013, Evonne Moore delivered a verbal submission at the public meeting.

Residential Character Zone
Our Association welcomes the introduction of this new Zone and hopes that it protects the historic character of the Zone while allowing some new sensitive residential development. We have been concerned in recent years to see unsympathetic 2-storey McMansions springing up in streets with a hitherto historic and coherent character. Similarly we have been concerned to see huge 2-storey rear additions to dwellings which have had major impacts on neighbours in terms of visual intrusion and overshadowing due to excessive bulk and scale and high site coverage. The character of an area is defined not just by what can be seen from the street, but also by what neighbours have to view in their rear gardens.

Residential Mixed Character Zone
The Desired Character Statement for the Residential Mixed Character Zone includes the statement that despite recent new residential development,

“…it is the underlying character which may ... be defined by remnant pockets of the original built form, or by dwellings set in spacious garden allotments, that is the valued element that this Zone aims to protect.”

The problem is that Council has not got the ability to achieve this aim when it is, at the same time, seeking to encourage the subdivision of allotments and infill housing development. The remnants of original housing and dwellings in spacious gardens will, over time, give way to infill housing. We submit that this is a major flaw which lies deep in the heart of the very concept of a Residential Mixed Character Zone.

We note that the Residential Mixed Character Zone allows for 1-4 storey dwellings where there is not a predominance of pre-1940s dwellings, according to the coloured map provided by Council to the public. However there is no mention of multi-storey dwellings in the Desired Character Statement or the general provisions for this Zone. We submit that this needs some clarification so that the public can better understand the Mixed Character Zone provisions.

Residential Zone
We understand that the Residential Zone is to experience the most dramatic re-shaping of its housing stock under the proposed re-zoning. We submit that Council should have written to the residents who live in these areas to advise them of the proposed changes and the public consultation process. We are aware of considerable community concern in the Policy Area 15.7 close to the River Torrens in St. Peters and Joslin. We have also been contacted by many residents of the former Payneham Council area who were bewildered by the proposed changes as they knew nothing about the rezoning until late in the consultation process. They were concerned that their post-war detached houses were to be swept away by multi-storey blocks of flats over the next 10-20 years.

We submit that replacing detached houses and gardens by multi-storey flats is a fundamentally flawed and regressive policy which ignores the aspirations of the majority of residents. It is simply untrue to claim that existing under-used infrastructure can accommodate the increased population and building density proposed. Virtually all existing infrastructure and services will come under strain as housing density increases. Electricity supplies, stormwater disposal systems, water and sewerage and roadways – the list goes on, will need upgrading due to extra stresses from infill housing. Multi-storey flats can bring their own set of social problems. The State government is responsible for forcing this politically charged and unpopular policy on to local councils, whereas it should be examining less damaging options for accommodating more people such as decentralization, as the Western Australian government is now doing.