Local Government Heritage

13 Oct 2009 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make an explanation before asking the Minister for Urban Development and Planning a question about local government heritage DPAs.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: At least two councils in the Adelaide metropolitan area have undertaken their own reports to identify heritage values, as follows: the City of Unley was gazetted, on an interim basis, on 27 November 2008, for its City of Unley village living and desirable development plan amendment stage 1, requiring final formal approval by 27 November 2009, when the interim approval expires; and Adelaide City Council when, on 29 January 2008, its City Strategy Committee adopted two city heritage development plan amendments, one being city heritage and character for the central business area and mixed use zones, and city heritage and character residential zone and main street (Hutt) zone.

The Adelaide City Council Development Plan Review Report dated 27 January 2009 is allegedly waiting on formal agreement by the minister. It states in one of these documents that it was initially submitted to the minister in early 2008 with a revised version submitted in September 2008. My questions to the minister are:

1. In relation to the City of Unley, will he approve the final version by that date in November this year?

2. In relation to the City of Adelaide, what is the reason for the delay in either the interim approval or full approval, and when does he intend to make a formal decision?

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY (Minister for Mineral Resources Development, Minister for Urban Development and Planning, Minister for Small Business) (14:35): In relation to the Unley development plan amendment that, of course, came as a result of an initiative that this government had undertaken with Unley council and, in particular, the then mayor of Unley. What the government was seeking to do has subsequently been picked up in the whole thrust of the 30-year plan. Indeed, many of the findings of Unley have led on to the policies of the government that are adopted in relation to the Residential Development Code and the need to look at exceptions to that code for character areas. It was really as a result of this pilot that took place in Unley and, as the honourable member said, it has been on interim protection and, obviously, I will have to make a decision within the next month as to whether that continues. The reason that that particular development plan amendment was put on interim protection was to enable the public to respond to it.

Essentially, it is an Unley council initiated DPA but the government, through the Department of Planning and Local Government, has supported it because it was a very important pilot study in terms of how one might better balance heritage considerations, particularly within our inner city areas. I have not seen the final feedback in relation to that. Certainly, some of the information I have been provided with, and some issues have been raised as a result of that. It is almost inevitable, one would think, that there will be some changes since it was a pilot study.

At present, I am not sure whether it has left Unley council and is with my department, but I have not yet received the final report. I will be looking at what the views of the City of Unley are in relation to the feedback it received during the interim period and also at the advice of the department. That will need to be done before the 12-month expiry date which the honourable member indicated was 22 November. It will be finalised then.

In conjunction with that, the government has also been finalising its policy in relation to those areas where the Residential Development Code will apply. The residential code was adopted for many areas of the Adelaide metropolitan area back in, I think, June or July, and we will be finalising it very soon. Clearly, the work of that particular development plan amendment will guide the government in relation to what policy it takes in relation to the application, or to those areas that are excluded from the application of the Residential Development Code. I hope that will be fairly soon. In relation to the Adelaide City Council, I have had some preliminary discussions and it has raised its final report.

As I understand it, the report has been delivered to the department and the department is currently having a look at it. There is a significant number of additions of places that are proposed to be put on the heritage list. The honourable member might well remember that the North Adelaide heritage development plan amendment was proposed by a previous Adelaide City Council (that is, not the current membership but a previous membership) and, in that particular case, after it had been out for discussion, if anyone had objected to a listing the council had removed from the list that it submitted to me.

As a result of that, acting on the advice of the local Heritage Advisory Committee I added some properties back onto that heritage development plan amendment because the original proposal was essentially purely voluntary. The newly elected council has a different approach and it has added a large number of properties. Obviously, this could have some impact upon the development within the City of Adelaide. Before I make a decision on that, I think it is important that I ensure that the heritage development plan amendment is consistent with the objectives of the 30-year plan. Clearly, if one is to have greater density—particularly within the central business district—it is important that the heritage development plan amendment does not unduly impede that process. But it is important also that we should add those places of genuine heritage within the city.

What normally happens when the development plan amendment in heritage matters comes in from local government is that I refer it to DPAC and the subcommittee of DPAC (the Local Heritage Advisory Committee—LHAC) to get advice on that. I have been seeking other advice. My understanding is that, as part of this process, an economic impact statement was also made in conjunction with the city council in relation to that. So all those matters will have to be considered and, as soon as I am in a position to make that decision, obviously, I will announce it. But, clearly, it is a process that could have a significant impact on the future development of the city. As I have said, it is also important that the essential heritage of the city be preserved. We need to get the balance right, and that is something to which I will be giving close consideration in the coming weeks.