By Peter Fitzgerald | 20 Nov 2015

Liveable Neighbourhoods is a Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) operational policy that guides the structure planning and subdivision for greenfield and large brownfield (urban infill) sites.

The WAPC initiated a review of Liveable Neighbourhoods, which broadly included:

  • a staged approach aligned to Liveable Neighbourhoods content or ‘elements’;
  • comprehensive stakeholder engagement, including the establishment of a technical advisory group, to identify issues, operational effectiveness, emerging trends and solutions; and
  • identification of major interpretation, inconsistency and implementation issues between Liveable Neighbourhoods and existing WAPC policies.

Liveable Neighbourhoods Review 2015 Banner

Urbis recently took the opportunity to submit a comment on the 2015 Liveable Neighbourhoods draft.

As a general observation, while we are supportive of the review process and the need to constantly evolve Liveable Neighbourhoods to ensure its ongoing relevance/performance and contemporary design outcomes, we note the following with respect to the current draft:

  • the draft Liveable Neighbourhoods is less ‘user friendly’ than the current version;
  • the draft Liveable Neighbourhoods lacks a clear, underpinning vision from which subsequent objectives and requirements logically cascade;
  • it fails to clearly enunciate the purpose of the review – why is it necessary, and what are the issues and trends (since the current Liveable Neighbourhoods policy was adopted) that the review is attempting to address? Why are they important?
  • there are insufficient linkages drawn between desired outcomes, objectives and requirements;
  • the draft Liveable Neighbourhoods takes a less performance-based approach than the current document – the proposed ‘check box’ approach might be procedurally efficient, but does not support flexibility or innovation;
  • the draft document insufficiently addresses ‘transit’, which should be in an element in its own right as it is critical to support density, mixed use and public transport. It is presently missing in the draft’s consideration of what constitutes a ‘liveable neighbourhood’
  • indeed, the draft document fails to define what is meant/desired by a ‘liveable neighbourhood’;
  • the draft document appears to be highly driven by engineering outcomes (e.g. the focus on road design for much of the document) rather than presenting holistic outcomes that balance engineering with other considerations;
  • at present, there is too much of a focus on greenfield outcomes as opposed to infill, a position that is inconsistent with the objectives of the WAPC’s Directions 2031 and Perth and Peel @3.5million. This could be addressed through re-emphasis or having separate provisions relating to brownfield and “urban” sites.

While we are highly supportive of Liveable Neighbourhoods as a planning tool along with the ongoing review process, Urbis also believes that a number of critical modifications, additions and clarifications are required to the current draft before it should be considered for final adoption.

Click here for more information on Liveable Neighbourhoods and to download a copy of the draft

For more information on how Urbis can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our Planning specialists below.

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