WALGA President Karen Chappel has expressed disappointment that only 20 days out from implementation, the State Government has deferred gazettal of the new medium density code for housing and made changes to the code.

WALGA President Karen Chappel said the deferral was short sighted and the reworking of the policy to exclude R30 and R40 coded land would lead to poor design outcomes with infill developments.

“After months of preparing for 1 September as the start date, this deferral is disruptive to planning proponents, Local Government Councils and the community,” said Cr. Chappel.

“Of greater long-term concern is the decision to rework the policy so that it only applies to R50 and R60 coded development.

“R30 and R40 zoned land are the most common densities in the code.  Removing these lots from the code gives the green light to development that results in more tree canopy loss and squeezes small groups of houses and long driveways onto blocks, with little regard for local character, attractive streetscapes, energy efficiency or lifestyle. 

“We need to see good planning and design outcomes so the community supports new infill development.”

WALGA wrote to Minister Carey in July this year reiterating strong support for the original Medium Density Housing Code and the original transitional arrangements, to be consistent with the State’s Planning Reform agenda and implementation.

The Minister’s decision on the deferral and removal of the R30 and R40 codes will now be considered by the independent Western Australian Planning Commission.

“I urge all members of the WAPC to consider the long-term implications of their decisions when considering the Minister’s request for a change to the Government’s original reform agenda,”,” said Cr Chappel.

“Local governments are committed to medium density housing by fostering good design to drive innovation and diversity in housing types and improve social and environmental outcomes.”