Activity Centres and out of centre development

Goldrange Pty Ltd and Greenpark Asset Pty Ltd v Western Australian Planning Commission (2013) WASAT 66

On 9 May 2013 the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) published its decision in Goldrange Pty Ltd and Greenpark Asset Pty Ltd v Western Australian Planning Commission(2013) WASAT 66 wherein it approved the addition of two discretionary uses (large format liquor store and hairdresser with general training component) in the Drovers Place commercial development at Wanneroo Road/Burns Beach Road, Wanneroo.

The SAT significantly held that these commercial retail uses were suitable in this location notwithstanding that Drovers Place is not identified in the retail hierarchy for activity centres set out in the relevant State Planning Policy of the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) or in the City of Wanneroo’s (City) policies, and had been opposed by the WAPC and the City.

The Applicant owners sought the inclusion of these additional uses in the new structure plan for Drovers Place (which was rejected by the Council of the City despite initial recommendation by the City’s officers), and later through a proposed amendment to the new structure plan (again rejected by the Council).  The proposed additional uses had also been rejected by the WAPC on a number of occasions.

On behalf of the owners Lavan Legal successfully applied to the SAT to review the decision of the WAPC and to approve the inclusion of the additional uses.

The SAT noted that the proposed additional land uses where intended to facilitate a development application by Coles for a First Choice Liquor superstore and for a hairdresser with a general training component.

Although the WAPC argued that the proposed additional use should be located in existing Activity Centre within the retail hierarchy set out in State Planning Policy 4.2 – Activity Centres for Perth and Peel, the SAT found that the objectives of the adopted structure plan for the Central Precinct was the principal and primary planning document guiding whether the additional uses proposed were acceptable and appropriate in the Central Precinct.

The SAT accepted that the additional uses proposed were “niche” businesses for the Central Precinct and would not significantly compromise the viability of nearby Activity Centres.  The SAT accepted that the objectives of the adopted structure plan were not to prevent competition between uses in the Central Precinct and nearby Activity Centres, but to ensure that the uses proposed would not compromise the viability of nearby Activity Centres.

After hearing the detailed expert evidence submitted by the Applicant, the SAT held that the proposed large format liquor store and large format hairdresser with a general training component were each acceptable and appropriate land uses at Drovers Place, because they are consistent with the objectives of the adopted structure plan, and complement rather than compete with or compromise the viability of nearby Activity Centre and do not undermine the established planned Activity Centres hierarchy.

MacroPlan were commissioned by Lavan Legal on behalf of their client to provide an expert witness statement, to participate in expert conferrals and finalising an expert conferral statement as well as giving evidence at the hearing.  

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