This week, Council voted to make sections of a confidential report public to enable greater transparency on a proposed Improvement Plan at 450 Hay Street.
The report – which was discussed at Tuesday 30 May Ordinary Council Meeting – considered a request from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) to consider additional information provided by the property owner, Sanur, relating to the proposed plan.
The Improvement Plan – which seeks to acquire City-owned Burley Lane – had already been considered by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) in late March 2023, with WAPC resolving not to proceed.
The City has now been advised that the WAPC have received a request from Sanur to consider additional information in support of their request for an Improvement Plan that covers 424-436 and 440 Hay Street, 1 Seddon Street and Burley Lane (collectively referred to as 450 Hay Street).
An Improvement Plan is a planning instrument with broad powers under section 119 of the Planning and Development Act 2005 to advance the planning, development and use of land. It permits, amongst other things, the power for the WAPC to acquire land compulsorily.
The proposed plan seeks to establish a framework for the WAPC to acquire Burley Lane (freehold land owned by the City). Sanur provides that this mechanism will facilitate redevelopment of the site.
The City has raised a number of concerns with the proposed plan including that such extraordinary powers are generally reserved for exceptional circumstances with state and regional importance and should not be used to advance the interests of a private development opportunity, particularly in a financial sense.
Mayor David McMullen said, “The City has firmly opposed the Improvement Plan at one WAPC meeting already, and will continue to do so off the back of Council's resolution this week. We hope the matter will be rejected once and for all at the WAPC's June meeting.
“In parallel with efforts to resist the Improvement Plan at WAPC level, the City will also continue to explore whether an outcome can be negotiated with Sanur directly that meets all parties' main objectives.
“The City has made its position on the Sanur land abundantly clear over an extended period. Our planning framework can generously accommodate a renewal of this particular site, and we wish for this potential to be realised by encouraging development of the land in a way that does not destroy heritage but rather integrates and celebrates it. We know firsthand the opportunities that good development can unlock; we have no interest in seeing Sanur's land sitting dormant.”
For more, see the Background information and Initial Improvement Plan consideration.
10 February 2023 – the City received notification from the DPLH advising that they were in receipt of a proposed Improvement Plan lodged by Sanur Pty Ltd.
17 March 2023 – the City’s extended deadline to respond to the proposed Improvement Plan. Elected members and staff worked closely to formulate a response recommending that the WAPC not progress with the proposed plan.
29 March 2023 – the WAPC considered the proposed Improvement Plan at its meeting; CEO Colin Cameron and Director Development Services Alexander Petrovski made a deputation recommending the plan does not progress.
6 April 2023 – the City is notified that at its meeting, the WAPC resolved not to proceed with the preparation of an Improvement Plan and that the WAPC Chairman had been asked by the Minister to engage in discussions with the parties.
15 May 2023 – DPLH requested the City to consider additional information provided by Sanur relating to the proposed Improvement Plan.
12 June 2023 – the date the DPLH has requested the City’s comments by on the additional information and proposed Improvement Plan.
28 June 2023 – the date of the WAPC meeting that the Improvement Plan is likely going to be reconsidered.