Growth fears as another major subdivision project opens in Cowaramup

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Cowaramup residents are concerned at the big number of homes slated for their small town.
Camera IconCowaramup residents are concerned at the big number of homes slated for their small town. Credit: Russell Ord

Advertising of a long-considered new land parcel in Cowaramup once intended to feature a retirement village was released for public comment last month and is now slated to feature up to 243 homes and an extra 660 residents.

That follows a plan already subject to consultation for a 41ha land parcel curving east of the township promising an extra 1000 residents in 372 homes plus a 32-house lifestyle village.

The latest submission from developer Rod Dixon amends existing plans west of the highway on the southern entry of Cowaramup, once part of the Cowaramup Country estate running off Roy Earl Drive and including commercial sites that have so far failed to see development apart from the BP petrol station.

The 19.63ha holding included some sections now removed from development consideration and four public open space areas measuring about 2.4ha and main access via Sunset Drive.

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A roundabout on Bussell Highway opposite Roy Earl Drive was also mooted as part of an east-west connection to Sunset Drive.

The 2.16ha north-eastern corner includes a higher density R60 coding earmarked for a possible “key workers accommodation village” while rural interface lots were denoted R15 density.

Cowaramup resident Anne Marsh was among those voicing alarm at the hamlet’s forecast growth she said had affected her faith in the local government.

“We hate what the shire is allowing to happen to Cowaramup, the constant opening of land to developers,” she said.

Shire planning and regulatory services manager Matt Cuthbert said the local government hoped submissions from the public included any specific concerns from residents, including the slated removal of the originally planned lifestyle village.

Asked about the scale of housing earmarked for Cowaramup given shire character studies and focus on lifestyle and amenity, Mr Cuthbert said residential development aligned with the town’s 2005 townsite strategy which considered “the long-term needs of the community and the desired character of the township”.

“Structure plans provide details of development in specific locations and are often prepared years or decades in advance of a subdivision taking shape, so it’s not unusual for these plans to be amended to ensure they meet current needs,” he said.

Changes to density codes in the proposal would also “use the land more efficiently to reduce the need for other areas to be developed”.

Consultation on the amended proposal ends on Tuesday, February 13.

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