Tag Archive | "Housing"

$174.45 million project imperilled because it's an apartment block.

South Perth skyscraper kicked to kerb

CHRIS THOMSON

EXCLUSIVE: South Perth council has recommended that a 38-floor skyscraper planned for Mill Point Road be refused largely because it is an apartment block.

The council reasons that the pictured tower is a “predominantly residential use which is inconsistent with [a] guidance statement … that any comprehensive new development should consist of predominantly non-residential uses to ensure the precinct consolidates its role as an employment destination”.

South Perth skyscraperThe $174.45 million project, designed by Hassell architects, is set to be debated by a state planning panel on March 14.

The plans include 163 apartments and a 29th-floor ‘sky lounge’ for the EXCLUSIVE use of residents.

During a 21-day public consultation period, six objections and two supporting comments were received.

The objectors made all the usual noises about increased traffic, overshadowing and purported excessive building height.

And, as usual, the supporters murmured something along the lines of how the skyscraper would help activate South Perth.

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Fighting father banishes nosy council from his City Beach backyard.

SuperDad wins cubby house stoush

CHRIS THOMSON

EXCLUSIVE: An industrious dad who hand-built a cubby for his kids then represented himself in court has banished an interventionist town council, its planning consultant, one of its elected councillors, two of his neighbours and their planning consultant from sticking their noses into his City Beach backyard.

In August 2014, oneperth.com.au revealed the Town of Cambridge had ordered Steve Hick to lower the cubby house he’d built for his children Cameron, Peter, and Sophie (pictured) and shunt it away from his property’s back boundary.

oneperth.com.au was at the State Administrative Tribunal in October 2014 when the cubby hit court thanks to an appeal of the town’s order launched by Mr Hick.

Seated at the rear corner of the hearing room that day were Mr Hick’s neighbours Kate and Andrew McKerracher. Their planner-for-hire Ben Doyle told the tribunal the McKerrachers would like to join the town as participants in the appeal proceeding.

The fact the cubby existed at all came to the attention of Cambridge council after rear neighbours of Mr Hick’s complained about it. The council then requested him to lodge a retrospective planning application.

During the consultation phase for Mr Hick’s planning application, the rear neighbours lodged an objection complaining the structure’s platform was 1.2 metres above ground level, resulting in “unobstructed overlooking” into their backyard and some bedrooms.

At the tribunal’s opening hearing of the case, council development manager Steve Rodic conceded the town had no specific policy about cubby houses, but that it was a general practice to require approval for structures such as Mr Hick’s cubby which were raised off the ground.

In a twist, Mr Rodic announced that Cambridge town councillor Pauline O’Connor who had objected to a pergola also on Mr Hick’s property, but absented herself from voting when it came before council, had asked to be involved in an on-site mediation in Mr Hick’s backyard –  in her capacity as a concerned neighbour, not a town councillor.

Cambridge’s eight other elected officials, including now-ousted mayor, Simon Withers, were also invited to caucus around Mr Hick’s patio table, along with town CEO Jason Buckley.

Now, oneperth.com.au can reveal that none of the extraordinary, and largely ratepayer-funded, interest in Mr Hick’s cubby has amounted to anything.

That’s because, in a decision published yesterday, tribunal member Marie Connor allowed Mr Hick’s appeal, effectively banning the town’s bureaucrats, elected officials and his neighbours from interfering with the pictured handywork of the self-represented cubby builder ever again.

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Public housing density should go down, Housing Authority says.

Revamp plan for ‘Beacy Bronx’

CHRIS THOMSON

EXCLUSIVE: The state agency formerly known as Homeswest is planning to redevelop a notorious estate known to Fremantle locals as ‘The Beacy Bronx’ as a medium-density mix of public and affordable housing that incorporates private home ownership, shops and businesses.

A Housing Authority submission seen by oneperth.com.au asks Fremantle council to consider upping the density of 11 single-house blocks that line South Street down to Bruce Lee Reserve in suburban Beaconsfield.

Each of the Housing Authority blocks is about 700sqm in size. The Housing Authority’s requested R80 zoning would allow between 40 and 60 dwellings to be built on the blocks, which previously carried only 11 detached houses.

But the Housing Authority says the density of public housing in the area “should” decrease under the plan, as public housing is only one of several affordable housing options that will be available.

BEACY BRONX

In 2014, when police raided several Housing Authority properties in the area, after having tipped off Perth’s herd of big media outlets, the media herd reported that some locals knew the area as the ‘Beacy Bronx’.

Other locals know the area as ‘Sun Hill’, a fictional housing estate on the wrong side of the tracks in British cops and robbers show The Bill.

Police claimed to have found a replica gun, silencer, machete, stolen scooter and some drugs during the raids.

Now, the Housing Authority has jumped at the chance to lever off a Fremantle council plan to consolidate housing and business densities along both sides of South Street between York Street and just past Fifth Avenue in Beaconsfield, and Taylor Street to some blocks past Yalgoo Avenue in White Gum Valley.

Zed's fish and chips BeaconsfieldFor readers who know Beaconsfield and White Gum Valley, that’s the area around Zed’s fish and chip shop which was gutted by fire over the Christmas break, as pictured, left.

TRANSIT NODES

The council plans to significantly increase housing densities – to R100 in the areas bounded by blue in the pictured diagram, and to R80 in the areas bounded by red. This would allow apartment blocks up to five floors in height where currently the tallest buildings are a handful of two-floor houses.

The council’s rationale is to increase density around three nodes along the South Street transit corridor, which up to the early 1950s had trams, but now has the Circle Route 98/99 and other Transperth buses running along it. The other two planned nodes would be at the corner of Carrington and South streets in Hilton, and Hampton Road and South Street in South Fremantle.

Two of the Housing Authority blocks fall within the red part of the diagram, on the Beaconsfield side of South Street. The Authority’s other nine blocks, bounded by the yellow line, are the ones it wants included in the council’s planned R80 zoning scheme.

“The Authority is currently undertaking a review of its properties with a view to maximising development opportunities,” the Authority has told the council.

“This area is ripe for change and development …

“As a single major landowner the ability to develop at the proposed higher density (R80) would be easily achieved through amalgamation of landholdings and coordinated vehicle access.”

COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, RESIDENTIAL

Housing Authority Acting General Manager Commercial Operations, Nigel Hindmarsh, told oneperth.com.au his agency would “endeavour to stimulate diversity of housing supply to support and enable joint public-private development projects”.

“In consultation with the City of Fremantle, [the] Housing [Authority] will work to optimise the regeneration potential of the area; activating the area with a mix of commercial, retail and residential accommodation,” Mr Hindmarsh said.

Rather than include the Housing Authority’s lots in their current proposal, Fremantle’s city planners have recommended the Authority and the council review all state housing in the area at a later date to assess “opportunities for comprehensive redevelopment”.

That recommendation, and another to put the council’s plans out for a third round of public consultation, are slated to be debated tonight by the council’s planning committee.

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WA capital was the softest housing market in the nation over 2015.

$20,000 drop in median home price

STAFF REPORTER

The average Perth home is worth $20,000 less than it was a year ago, according to property price figures released today.

RP Data Head of Research Tim Lawless said that over the 2015 calendar year dwelling values in the Western Australian capital plummeted 3.7 per cent, the biggest drop of any capital city in the nation.

“The largest losses have occurred in Perth where the average dwelling is now worth approximately $19,970 less than it was 12 months ago …,” Mr Lawless said.

Over the past five years, Perth dwelling prices have increased 5.0 per cent, placing the metropolis ahead of only Adelaide (1.9 per cent), and Hobart and Darwin where dwelling prices fell by 4.0 and 3.7 per cent respectively.

One small ray of sunshine for Perth property owners was that in the month of December Perth’s dwelling prices rose faster than any other capital city – at 2.3 per cent. The next best performing capital city housing market in December was Brisbane’s with a value rise of 0.9 per cent.

Perth’s median dwelling price is now $510,000, compared to the median across all national capitals of $595,000.

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WA homelessness

WA homelessness on the rise

STAFF REPORTER

Western Australians are increasingly struggling to keep a roof over their head, with people accessing homelessness services up 7.4 per cent and WA now the mortgage default capital of the nation.

The annual report on demand for homelessness services released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveals that more than 23,000 people accessed homelessness services in WA in 2014-2015.

This is an increase of 7.4% on the previous year.

WA homelessnessAlso, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that WA is now leading the nation in mortgage defaults.

Chantal Roberts, Executive Officer of Shelter WA, said the the economic downturn in WA, due to the slowdown in the resource industry, means many people are facing a dramatic change in financial circumstances.

“For some people this will impact on their ability to keep themselves and their families housed,” Ms Roberts said.

“The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) figures also reveal that financial or legal services were provided to less than half of all people seeking this assistance, due to a lack of service availability.

“This is of great concern, as it may present difficulties in negotiating with landlords and banks.”

Ms Roberts said reducing social services in tight economic times will be more costly to governments in the long term.

“When people become homeless, their health and employment prospects suffer greatly.

“This eventually causes a greater cost to government and taxpayers.

“It is important for governments to prioritise the needs of Western Australians who are seeking help to manage their finances to keep a roof over their heads.”

Charles Brown, Executive Officer of the Financial Counsellors’ Association of WA, said there was limited capacity to meet client needs in these difficult economic times.

“The financial counselling sector has, like many others in the social services, experienced a significant reduction in funding this year,” Mr Brown said.

“We have worked with the State Government to devise a new service model, but ultimately there are less financial counsellors in fewer locations, including within organisations working with people at risk of homelessness or repossession of their home by their bank.

“Several of our members have reported waitlists over a month long.

“There is simply less help available across the board for the people who need it most.”

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The only state capital to enter negative territory in 2015.

Perth the softest housing market in Australia

CHRIS THOMSON

Perth had by the far the softest capital city property market in Australia over the last year, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released today.

In the year to September 2015, dwelling prices fell fastest in Perth by 3.3 per cent), followed by Darwin by 2.0 per cent.

Dwelling prices in all other capital city markets grew – Sydney’s at 19.9 per cent, Melbourne’s by 9.9 per cent, Canberra’s by 4.0 per cent, Brisbane by 3.8 per cent, Adelaide by 3.5 per cent and Hobart by 1.7 per cent.

“Outside of Sydney and Melbourne, residential property prices are growing at fairly steady, if not modest, annual rates – between 1.7 per cent and 4.0 per cent,” said Housing Industry Association economist Diwa Hopkins.

“In Perth and Darwin prices actually declined by 3.3 per cent and 2.0 per cent, respectively.”

“Overall, the significant variation in dwelling price growth – something we’ve been observing for some time now – continued in the September quarter this year, illustrating very different economic and housing conditions underlying the different capital cities.”

Not all Perth suburbs are in the housing market doldrums, however.

Real Estate Industry Association of Western Australia Deputy President Damian Collins said that for the year to October 2015, the suburb of Brabham, in Perth’s northeast, had the highest growth in annual house sales, lifting 73.1.

“With a rolling annual median price of $465,000, Brabham is a clear example of a Perth suburb that is attracting the attention of first home buyers looking to be near the northern coastal corridor,” Mr Collins said.

The next best performing suburb was seaside Trigg where the number of house sales increased 41.2 per cent, with its rolling annual median house price sitting at $1,042,500.

Mount Richon had the third highest growth in annual house sales.

“The southeast suburb experienced 36.8 per cent growth in house sales over the year, and its rolling annual median house price [was] $478,500.”

Beachside Alkimos ranked fourth, with the number of houses sold lifting 20 per cent.

“Alkimos holds great appeal for first home buyers given it is a stone’s throw away from the beach and has an annual median house price of $488,500,” Mr Collins said.

Rounding out Perth’s Top 5 was Caversham, with house sales figures in the suburb increasing 19.6 per cent.

“Caversham continues its popularity being so close to the upper reaches of the Swan and [Perth’s] superb wineries and … [with its] annual median house price of just over $500,000.”

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More western suburbs cubby complaints

CHRIS THOMSON

Yet another children’s cubby house has been mired in controversy in Perth’s well-heeled western suburbs.

oneperth.com.au can reveal that on the back of controversy over four western suburbs cubbies revealed here in the past three years, two more objections to a cubby house have reared their head.

The pictured cubby that has earned the ire of two neighbours is owned by the Webster family of Marita Road in Nedlands.

COMPLAINT RECEIVED

CUBBYAfter a complaint about construction of the cubby was made to the City of Nedlands in January, the council asked the Websters to lodge a retrospective planning application.

In response, two objections were received.

A report to Nedlands’ city councillors by the council’s statutory planning co-ordinator Andrew Bratley reveals one objector has alleged the Websters did not follow proper procedure.

“It is the blatant disregard for proper consultation which we find most upsetting,” the objector complains.

The second objector claims the cubby allows overlooking into their property, and hence invades their privacy.

“We are planning to build a swimming pool in our backyard in the future,” the complainant laments.

“It will affect our property’s value due to overlooking.”

SCREENING REQUIRED

The back of the cubby overlooks a vacant block of land owned by Main Roads that houses only a sewer main and a drainage basin, and so is not a privacy concern.

However, the southern side of the cubby looks into the yard of a neighbouring house.

Mr Bratley has recommended that the cubby be approved, provided its southern side be screened from floor to roof. His recommendation is slated to be debated at a council meeting on April 28.

oneperth.com.au does not claim to be an authority on every cubby house complaint around metropolitan Perth. However, we scan council papers of the city’s 30 local governments more than any other news outlet. In recent years, the only cubbies we have encountered that have faced planning problems are western suburbs ones – in City Beach, Wembley, Mosman Park and Floreat.

Last month, an existing cubby house was retrospectively approved for the Maxwell family’s backyard at Stoddart Way in the southern Perth suburb of Bateman. That cubby was approved 11 City of Melville councillors to nil, with the help of a rear neighbour who wrote a letter of support.

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Perth weakest housing market in the nation

STAFF REPORTER

Metropolitan Perth’s real estate market is in the doldrums, performing softest of all Australian capital cities over the first quarter of 2015.

CoreLogic RP Data figures released today showed Perth’s residential dwelling values dropped 2.7 per cent in the fMarch quarter which finished yesterday, to a median value of $513,000.

By comparison, all of Australia’s capital cities combined recorded a three per cent rise in the March quarter, resulting in a median price of $530,000.

Perth property prices 2015In the year to the end of March, Perth ‘s dwelling values dropped 0.1 per cent against a national capital city rise of 7.4 per cent.

CoreLogic RP Data head of research Tim Lawless said most of the national growth was coming out of Sydney.

In good news for tenants, Perth has also recorded the largest capital city drop in rental yields in the past year – with landlords raking in 4.1 per cent less rent than last year.

The Perth housing market peaked in early 2014.

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Cubby house disputes hit court

CHRIS THOMSON

EXCLUSIVE: Two neighbourhood cubby house disputes escalated today to the realm of a St Georges Terrace court room.

In the first cubby case, self-represented Steve and Fiona Hick squared off against two Town of Cambridge planners, and a planner hired by their rear neighbours, over conditions placed by the town on the Hick’s backyard cubby at Talgarth Way in City Beach.

cubby house perthIn August, oneperth.com.au revealed a local storm was brewing over the cubby after the Hicks’ neighbours raised privacy and compliance concerns about the backyard structure and adjoining pergola (pictured), which at the time had not received planning approval.

Mr Hick had built the cubby for his children Cameron (10), Peter (7), and Sophie (3) (also pictured). After council officers convinced him to lodge a retrospective planning application, the town recently ordered him to lower the cubby and shunt it away from his property’s back boundary.

He has long argued a simpler solution would be to go halves with his back neighbours, Kate and Andrew McKerracher, in a taller fence to replace the existing asbestos one.

Today, the McKerrachers sat in the back corner of State Administrative Tribunal Hearing Room 904 as their planner-for-hire Ben Doyle told presiding member Jim Jordan his clients would like to join the town as participants in the appeal proceeding that the Hicks have brought to court.

The Hicks told Mr Jordan they would let the McKerrachers attend a confidential on-site mediation at the Hicks’ house at 10am on November 6, at which the McKerrachers would be allowed to make a statement.

Mrs McKerracher in turn agreed to host the Hicks for an inspection of their cubby house from her backyard – on condition that the Hicks would be accompanied by appropriate people. Mr Jordan assured Mrs McKerracher the Hicks would be accompanied by a tribunal mediator, representatives of both sides, and more than likely Mrs McKerracher herself.

All agreed that after the inspections, the mediation itself would take place around the Hicks’ patio table.

At today’s hearing Mr Hick said he would likely argue that his cubby should never have been subject to a development application.

Council development manager Steve Rodic conceded the town had no specific policy about cubby houses, but that it was a general practice to require approval for structures such as the Hicks’ cubby which were raised off the ground.

In a twist, Mr Rodic told Mr Jordan that Cambridge town councillor Pauline O’Connor who had objected to the Hick’s pergola, but absented herself from voting when it came before council, had asked to be involved in the mediation –  in her capacity as a concerned neighbour, not a town councillor.

Mr Jordan agreed to this. Ms O’Connor will in turn be asked to allow the Hicks and the mediator to enter her back yard to view the pergola from there.

Cambridge’s eight other elected officials, including Mayor Simon Withers, will also be invited to confidentially caucus around the Hick’s patio table on November 6, as will town CEO Jason Buckley.

Despite sitting on opposite sides of the hearing table today, the Hicks shared a laugh with Mr Jordan and the town’s senior planning officer Jenny Bender as they departed the tribunal’s St Georges Terrace building together. Relations between the Hicks and McKerrachers (who later departed on their own) were not so convivial.

The Hicks’ dispute with Cambridge council was first brought to public attention by oneperth.com.au.

So was the second cubby dispute heard in Room 904 today between artist Genevieve Montgomerie and the Town of Mosman Park.

That disagreement, about a treehouse overlooking a laneway from Ms Montgomerie’s Jameson Street house, was the subject of a directions hearing that ran for 30 minutes from noon.

Ms Montgomerie was represented by planning consultant Joe Algeri who successfully argued for an on-site mediation session, against wishes expressed by planning consultant to Mosman Park council, Steve Allerding.

Mr Algeri argued that a range of site-specific concerns could only be addressed and a fresh perspective achieved from a mediation beside the treehouse.

There was no dispute between Mr Algeri and Mr Allerding that the tree house was the proper subject of a development application. Issues to be debated at the mediation include location, bulk, materials and finish of the tree house.

The mediation will commence at 10am on November 4 in Tregonning Lane. Mosman Park mayor Ron Norris, his councillors, town CEO Kevin Poynton and possibly a complaining neighbour will be invited to attend.

Since oneperth.com.au revealed Ms Montgomerie’s treehouse woes, the cubby has featured prominently on talkback radio and TV news.

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Mt Hawthorn consolidation ban

CHRIS THOMSON

The inner-city burough of Vincent has moved to ban town houses, duplexes and apartment blocks in the low density bungalow ‘burb of Mt Hawthorn.

Under the ban, advertising of which has been urged by Vincent council planners, only single houses would be approved from now on in Mt Hathorn, except along major roads that fringe the suburb.

Over time, and from the air at least, this would give the suburb the feel of a walled medieval town.

Members of the ever-gentrifying community of Mount Hawthorn had raised concerns that multiple dwellings in their suburb would increase traffic, parking problems and turn their suburb into a vapid urban wasteland.

During a recent advertising period for the planning amendment, 40 submissions were received, with 80 per cent supporting the ban.

Advertising the medium density housing ban for another 42-day round of public comment will be voted upon by Vincent city councillors on Tuesday night.

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Perth builders knocked off their perch

CHRIS THOMSON

Perth home builders BGC (Australia) and Alcock/Brown-Neaves Group have been relegated to minor placings in a national list of homes most built.

Released today, the 2013/14 Housing Industry Association Housing 100 report reveals that Perth-based BGC (Australia) was Australia’s second most prolific home builder in 2013/14, bumped off top spot by east coast condo king Meriton Apartments.

This was despite the fact BGC erected 5004 dwellings in 2013/14, compared to 3443 in 2012/13.

Meriton’s rise up the rankings came on the back of a threefold increase in apartments built – from 2573 in 2012/13 to 7929 in 2013/14.

Also bumped down the rankings by Meriton was Alcock/Brown Neaves Group which came in at number three, down from its second place ranking in 2012/13. Again, this was despite the company upping its annual home builds from 3199 to 4142.

Three other Perth companies cracked the national Top 20, though like BGC and Alcock/Brown Neaves their national rankings took a hit.

Osborne Park-based JWH Group ranked eighth, down from its seventh in 2012/13, with 1254 dwellings erected.

Down from its eighth-placed ranking in 2012/13, Belmont-based Pindan Pty Ltd came in tenth with 1250 homes.

With 1004 homes built, the Myaree-based Summit Homes Group came in 18th, down from its 13th in 2012/13.

For decades, the WA home building industry has been dominated by the big players far more so than any other building market in the nation.

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Partial reprieve for contentious cubby

CHRIS THOMSON

Some say they’re paid to make the tough decisions.

Others might question why the pictured cubby house – built by Steve Hick for his children Cameron (10), Peter (7), and daughter Sophie (3) (pictured) – ever came before Town of Cambridge councillors for a vote.

cubby house perthIn any case, the town’s councillors last night approved the pictured cubby, six councillors to two – but on the condition it be shunted away from the property boundary of one complaining neighbour by one metre.

The cubby will also need to be lowered.

And the council has decreed this will all need doing within 30 days.

On Sunday, oneperth.com.au revealed the cubby – in Mr Hick’s backyard at Talgarth Way in City Beach – would face a rocky road through last night’s council meeting.

This was after the town’s development committee had only narrowly endorsed a recommendation from the town’s planners that the cubby stay put, subject to conditions.

The cubby’s existence came to the council’s attention after a rear neighbour complained about it, and the town’s planners asked Mr Hick to lodge a retrospective development application.

In their report on Mr Hick’s subsequent development application, the council planners advised that cubby houses would not normally need development approval.

This morning, Mr Hick said he was not yet sure if we would appeal the council decision in the powerful State Administrative Tribunal.

He said he needed to speak to town officials today or tomorrow about options he might pursue “if sanity doesn’t prevail”.

Mr Hick said he was getting a “huge amount of support” from City Beach locals.

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The cubby a neighbour wants buried

CHRIS THOMSON

CLICK HERE FOR LATEST NEWS ON THE CITY BEACH CUBBY HOUSE: MIXED REPRIEVE FOR CONTENTIOUS CUBBY

EXCLUSIVETUESDAY, AUGUST 26 UPDATE: Two cubby houses in Perth’s western suburbs have so irked neighbours that costly redesigns may be required to meet the demands of exacting council officials.

The two cubbies will be debated at separate council meetings tonight after neighbours complained about each.

At Talgarth Way in City Beach, Steve and Fiona Hick have applied for retrospective approval of the cubby (pictured above, right) that is located along their back fence.

The Town of Cambridge would not normally need to approve a cubby. But because the cubby is raised half a metre off the ground, located on the property boundary, and a neighbour has raised concerns, the town’s planners requested a development application.

The planners have advised their political masters that the Hicks’ cubby does not satisfy design principles, in part because the structure’s height and zero setback from the boundary would diminish the amenity of neighbours.

cubby house perthMr Hick has told oneperth.com.au that his rear neighbours engaged a consultant to prepare a 10-page report to sink the cubby which he built for his sons Cameron (10) and Peter (7), and daughter Sophie (3) (all pictured, left).

He said that the main order of business when he moved into his Talgarth Way house in October was to clear the “jungle” which the yard had become.

“You couldn’t get through it with a machete,” he said.

“But when we did, [the neighbours behind] could see the ocean.”

Mr Hick said that added thousands of dollars to the value of the neighbours’ house.

“… and now they slap us with this,” he said.

CUBBY CONSULTATION

During the consultation phase for the cubby, the rear neighbour lodged an objection.

The neighbour complained the cubby’s platform was 1.2 metres above ground level, resulting in “unobstructed overlooking” into their backyard and some bedrooms.

“The structure has significantly adversely impacted on our privacy,” the neighbour lamented.

They complained that on several occasions children had accessed their yard and house via the cubby.

“From a liability perspective we believe this access to our property (which has a swimming pool) should be removed,” the neighbour opined.

The town’s planners agree the cubby does result in “overlooking issues” and could pose safety issues vis a vis the pool access.

However, Mr Hick says his children have only ever accessed the rear neighbour’s yard at the invitation of their children who attend the same school and are in the same year.

“Problems of access, privacy and liability etc etc would not be an issue if the complaining neighbours were to agree to a standard 1800mm fence rather than the 1300mm asbestos fence that exists,” he explained.

“Why do they not want to put a standard fence in?

“Because they have suggested that they would lose their ocean view.

“Nothing to do with liability, child access or privacy.

“Their house completely looks into our back yard … full view of pool, kitchen, dining, change room, lounge, patio etc.”

Mr Hick said he got quotes to upsize the fence, which came in at about $1300 a piece, but the rear neighbour wanted none of that.

“I love building cubbies, flying foxes, anything to get the kids off an iPad,” he said.

“But this episode has become very stressful.”

After much debate of the planners’ advice, a town committee has recommended the cubby be approved, but only if it sits entirely within the Hicks’ property, over which there is some question.

At three councillors to two, the committee vote was far from unanimous. The full council will get to debate the cubby again tonight.

MOSMAN PARK KNOCKBACK

Meanwhile at Jameson Street in Mosman Park, after the Montgomerie family applied in December for retrospective approval of the tree house (pictured, right), they are likely to be disappointed by the outcome of another council meeting tonight.

After receiving an objection that claimed the tree house’s wall was obtrusive, and compromised the “green view” from the objector’s property, the Montgomeries pulled their development application and submitted new plans.

One objection has been lodged against the new plans, complaining the tree house will affect views from a neighbouring property.

Contrary to the advice of Erina Parsons, a senior professional planner employed by the town, the elected officials – who are not planning experts – contend that approval of the tree house would be “inconsistent with the principles of orderly and proper planning”.

The committee reasons the bulk, location, building materials and finish of the redesigned tree house would be “detrimental to the local character and amenity of the area”.

The full Mosman Park council will debate the recommended refusal on September 2.

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Leighton’s missing link

CHRIS THOMSON

A big ole hole in the ground left by the last property slump at Fremantle’s Leighton Beach is set to be filled by a quartet of five-floor apartment blocks.

In the last property boom, before the 2009 global financial crisis, national condominium builder Mirvac erected apartments on large plots of land it had levelled at Leighton.

The property market crashed, Mirvac and some apartment buyers started battling each other in the courts over the flats’ fitout, many units were put on the market by buyers looking to onsell at drastically reduced prices, and Leighton failed to develop another superblock it had levelled at the beach which is popular with Fremantle families.

leighton beach apartmentsPerth’s housing market has long since recovered and the metropolis recently saw the back of another price cycle peak.

Despite the latest peak having come and gone, Mirvac has now lodged plans for four five-floor apartment buildings on parts of the vacant superblock –which has now blighted North Fremantle for half a decade.

If eventually approved by a state government assessment panel, the apartments will rise opposite the Bib & Tucker eatery opened last year by Olympians Eamon Sullivan and Steve Hooker.

The five apartment blocks will house 208 units of varying sizes, and three ground-floor commercial tenancies.

oneperth.com.au can also reveal Mirvac plans to erect a hotel on the vacant superblock and is negotiating with a hotel operator to that end.

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