Julie Matheson

CFP Business Specialist | Local Government Expert | Community Advocate

Supreme Court Action – Catherine Street, Subiaco

The first date for Supreme Court hearing against the Dept of Planning and the DAP is booked for Wednesday 3 April 2013 at 10am.  Location: Stirling Gardens, Perth (cnr Barrack Street and St Georges Tce)

This action has been taken by a local resident against the approval of an office block on Catherine Street, directly opposite the State heritage listed terrace houses known as Bishops Row.

State heritage listed on Catherine Street

Catherine Street

Here are some published articles, presentations and links to the background of Catherine Street:

Proposed office block opposite heritage listed property approved 8 March 2012

Proposed office block opposite heritage listed property approved 8 March 2012


DAP decision process on Catherine Street

DAP decision process on Catherine Street

Second RAR for Catherine Street office block

Second RAR for Catherine Street office block

Notice the 26 July 2012 decision by Council to advise the DAP “that it does not support the original approval… [especially] the potential adverse impact to streetscape and neighbouring places of heritage significance in this location.  But unfortunately the planning officer goes on to recommend the DAP approve the DAP Application for the office block with no residential units.

At the moment, supreme court action is the only method of appeal for third parties affected by a planning decision.  The developer can appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) which is a very cheap option compared to supreme court action.

Notice of supreme court action

Notice of supreme court action

The main planning problem with Catherine Street is that it is divided down the middle of the road by two zones.  Looking north, the right hand side of the road is residential, with State heritage listed properties.  The left hand side is zoned Town Centre.  Subiaco’s Town Planning Scheme specifically deals with this zone.  Some of the clauses which make this decision by the DAP unpalatable are as follows:

  • Part 2 Land Use.  The zoning refers to Use Classes Offices AA which “means that
    the use is not permitted unless the Council has exercised its discretion
    by granting planning approval taking into considering whether the nature of the
    use is consistent with the planning objectives of the Scheme and the planning
    policies with respect to that zone”.
     (Ref. TPS 14 Zoning Table)
  • clause 53 of TPS No.4. and the applicable policies including that:
  • (a)  It is not, and does not encourage, the development of high quality buildings in the Town Centre Zone.
  • (b)  It does not promote the area as the town centre for local businesses and services but instead presents as if it is located in an office precinct zoned for mass employment such as West Perth.
  • (c)  It does not encourage the retention of heritage character by reinforcing original development patterns and by the recycling of original building stock or, additionally, ensure new development is (or will be) appropriately designed and has due regard of the unique character of the area.
  • (d)  It does not protect the amenity of the areas adjacent to it.
  • (e)  Its effect on neighbouring residential properties in terms of noise, increased traffic, overlooking and overshadowing and other amenity issues will not be minimal.
  • (f)   Its approval would not constitute consistency in decision-making.
  • Other applicable policies are of a magnitude that renders it incapable of approval under clause 28 of TPS
    No.4 due to the development proposal’s multiple failures to comply with the standards that apply, as expressed in clause 54.

Also see:  http://www.subiaco.wa.gov.au/fileuploads/Town%20Centre%20Precinct(2).pdf which specifically states the objectives are “to encourage vibrant and diverse mixed used areas including residential uses rather than solely retail or commercial development“.

The approval made by DAP appears to have no regard for orderly and proper planning for the rest of Catherine Street.

Subiaco does have a plan for Catherine Street, and it looks something like this (looking north):

City of Subiaco Part 6 Centre Plan, Precinct 4 - Town Centre

City of Subiaco Part 6 Centre Plan, Precinct 4 – Town Centre


As you can see there are no super blocks for large office blocks like the one approved by the DAP.

Unfortunately, supreme court action is all that is available to residents and ratepayers affected by a planning decision made by the DAP.

UPDATE: Judgement handed down by Justice Chaney – 17 May 2013

Against the applicant: 31412-13 05 16-AR-Judgment


2 comments on “Supreme Court Action – Catherine Street, Subiaco

  1. James
    April 1, 2013

    The meeting with DAP members was not a very good secret if everyone knows about it. The fact there is no report surely just means it was an informal meeting?

    What was the reason the Heritage Architects rejected the initial plans? If the new design addressed the reason or reasons, then maybe public consultation was unnecessary? However if it didn’t then it should definitely have gone back for public consultation before final consideration.

    Personally I think the new design looks fine and I often like the stark contrast between heritage and modern. Maybe the owners of the Heritage properties are more concerned, as I would be, about additional traffic/parking issues?

  2. Julie Matheson
    April 2, 2013

    Reblogged this on Local Govt. and Subiaco.

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This entry was posted on April 1, 2013 by in DAP, Planning, Residential, Town Centre and tagged , , .
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