It’s not without reason the Fremantle Council has been vocal about the State Government’s DAM legislation. This legislation would remove considerable planning authority from local councils and the City has rightly opposed it, at least partly on the grounds that the views of local residents will not be represented in the decisions.
It is disappointing then that in recent planning decisions the council has not listened to opposition from residents. I understand this has been the case in matters related to The Crowded House cafe on the corner of Douro and Thomas Roads and the planned development on the corner of Douro Road and Hulbert Street.
The most recent case involves the proposed development of number 14 Wray Ave. This will be a mixed use development with the existing premises as left an office or shop. A three storey residential property will be built behind the existing property, extending all the way to the rear alley, built of tilt-up concrete and clad in reflective material.
As I understand it, the planning staff recommended that the proposal be rejected but a council committee decided to send it out for public comment. In response, a considerable number of locals – making up the vast majority of submissions – voiced strong opposition to this development in writing and at a council meeting. And yet the committee recommended that it be sent to council for approval.
What is the point of community consultation if it won’t be listened to?
Furthermore, how can a council argue that the rights of it’s residents and rate-payers to determine the type and nature of development in their neighbourhood will be impinged by state legislation when they don’t listen to these residents in the first place?
They can’t – it’s just political point-scoring.