Nedlands plans 12-storey developments for ‘landmark entry statement’

The municipality of Nedlands hopes to give direction to the future of a central strip leading to the river intended for residential towers.

The area extends from Stirling Highway south towards the river, following the alignment of Broadway.

But an urban planning policy the city has been pursuing for two years has been ignored after legal advice determined parts of it would fail on appeal.


The policy adopted by the council in May 2020 was not based on the modeling of built forms, despite a recommendation to do so by the State Design Review Panel, and was found to be “inconsistent” with the planning plan.

City officials are now advising the council to publicize the new policy on May 24 and have warned that “there will not be a viable policy with specific built-in form controls” if there is not.

The state government designated the area for increased density in 2019, with the Stirling Highway sub-area being the “most intensely built form within the Broadway district,” according to city officials.

Based on the new design policy, single-family and group homes are not considered appropriate.

It allows building seven to twelve stories for Stirling Highway, with the highest peak proposed for the corner of Stirling Highway and Broadway as a landmark entry statement in the city of Nedlands.


Areas adjacent to Broadway and Stirling Highway will buffer between high and low-intensity development.

The new policy comes after a defeat for the Nedlands council in their anti-density war on Thomas Street, several hundred yards from the Broadway district.

Camera icon An artistic impression of the Nedlands tower block on Thomas Road Credit: Unknown/Supplied

It was a nine-story development that a state government panel had approved — against the council’s advice — with a single-story house to be demolished to make way for the 27 apartments.

Camera Icon This house on Thomas Road is being demolished and replaced by a complex of 27 units. Credit: Matt Jelonek/The West Australian

A report to the council reveals that the Broadway district can expect less of its cottage-style row houses and more clustered homes and apartments.

At least one development in the Cooper Street neighborhood is under consideration. The proposal for ten homes will be adopted next week for a council opinion and then a JDAP decision.

Camera IconA proposed development on Cooper Street in the Broadway district. Credit: Peter Webb & Associates

According to the staff report, the new policy recommends podiums or lower levels of complexes that offer “diversity of scale and shape at lower levels”, with the higher elements set back to accommodate roof terraces and gardens on different levels.

The policy will encourage green walls to reduce bulk and scale and focus on new developments on the highway to minimize size and access to sunlight.

It also imposes a uniform 12m backdrop for properties on the Stirling Highway and provides additional building height when providing vehicular access from the rear rather than the highway.

Employees say this unified setback allows for trees and deep soil areas to ” soften the interface with the highway and improve pedestrian amenities.”

The policy also means that new developments “must use a palette of high quality, diverse materials, and architectural styles to create a contemporary architectural response”.

However, it is far from certain that the council will vote to continue advertising its staff’s design policies. At a council briefing on Tuesday, Cr Andrew Mangano described the draft policy as “appalling” and encouraged other councilors to vote against its advertising.

“It’s what the staff want, not what we want. We represent the taxpayers, not the staff,” said Cr Mangano.

“The JDAP will generally be involved and use this as an excuse to approve everything.”

City planning director Tony Free said the policy made the approval process “restrictive” and not easier for developers.

“This policy is intended to clarify what we would find acceptable,” Mr. Free said.

Cr Fergus Bennett expressed concern about proposing a “nightclub”, with the director assuring him that a nightclub would be very unlikely to be approved.

John D.Mayne
I love to write. When I wasn’t writing for my school newspaper or college blog, I was writing personal essays and journal entries. Then I discovered I loved to write. In college, I wrote for my school paper and my campus radio show. I started doing freelance writing for the Huffington Post in 2009. Then, I joined the team at Newsmyth as a writer/editor. Now, I spend most of my time writing for Newsmyth and as a guest blogger on a handful of other blogs. When I’m not writing, I like to read, travel, cook, and spend time with friends.