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Call for more flexibility in planning decisions

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times

One of Bunbury’s newest elected members has delivered a passionate speech to Bunbury City Council asking it to be more tolerant and flexible on planning matters.

The comments were made by Cr Todd Brown last week when he spoke in favour of approving a home owner’s boundary fence application, despite an officer’s recommendation to refuse the proposal.

In a report to the council, it was recommended the application be refused based on the proposed fence being “inconsistent” with design codes and obstructing sight lines.

Following a deputation from the South Bunbury homeowner, Craig Edwards, at last week’s council meeting, Cr Brown put an alternative motion forward asking the application to be approved.

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Cr Brown said the proposed “renovation” was just one example of the many grassroots developments taking place across the city.

“I would like to thank him (Mr Edwards) and all the renovators in the city of Bunbury who have put their hard earned investment dollars into our city, regenerating our ageing housing stocks, modernising our suburbs and making greater use of our existing infrastructure,” Cr Brown said.

“As a progressive and innovative council we need to have a more tolerant and pragmatic approach to planning matters and an attitude that allows us, in circumstances, to give a degree of flexibility to these guidelines to allow some sensible variations by bending without breaking the laws.

“We need to be creative and innovative in retrofitting our ageing housing stocks, gentrifying our suburbs and making better use of our current infrastructure.”

Cr Brown said homeowners who wanted to transform older houses should be given some “wiggle room”.

“This may seem a minor issue to council and I respect the council staff’s recommendation based on the r-codes, but I think there is a place for common sense on these decisions,” he said.

The council voted in favour of approving the fence application.

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