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WA Planning Commission overrules Shire of Augusta-Margaret River council bid to scale back Karridale project

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River.
Camera IconThe Shire of Augusta-Margaret River. Credit: Warren Hately/Augusta-Margaret River Times/Augusta-Margaret River Times

The WA Planning Commission has overturned changes made by councillors late last year to a new subdivision in Karridale.

In approving the plan for Moodjar Court south of Karridale Primary School, the State’s top planning authority dismissed a reduction in lot sizes amended by councillors when the proposal went before them prior to last Christmas.

The changes advanced by Crs Tracey Muir and Julia Meldrum were driven by concerns about density on the site and maximising use of agricultural land approved for housing.

WAPC instead found the proponent’s original vision for the subdivision was largely correct, with 36 lots approved instead of the amended 25 “in line with the contemporary State planning framework”.

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The Times understands one lot was removed to accommodate internal road changes.

The project was advanced by an investor group that included recent Shire of Augusta-Margaret River council candidate Reg Gillard acting as a director with about a 6 per cent share.

Shire sustainable development and infrastructure director Nick Logan confirmed the WAPC decision, which was signed off by Planning Minister John Carey.

At the December 22 meeting last year, Crs Muir and Meldrum cited extensive community consultation on the proposal informing their push to reduce capacity to 25 lots.

“Why do we do consultation with the community if we’re not willing to do what they tell us?” Cr Muir said.

“This is a farming community with a different sense of place.

“They will live with this density and they will be impacted by it forever.”

Cr Meldrum said the decision needed to reflect Shire strategies — “Not just our own, but the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge (Statement of Planning Policy) as well.”

However, councillors including Ian Earl and Kylie Kennaugh said the advertised density was a way to constrain urban sprawl in localities outside of Margaret River.

“What do you want? Spread?” Cr Kennaugh said in December.

“Because that’s what you’re going to get until we stop people breeding.

“We’d be fools to make this any smaller.”

Crs Kennaugh and Earl, with now-retired colleague Brian Daniel, opposed the amendment.

The development initially featured 39 lots.

During public advertising in 2022 it garnered 16 submissions, of which 13 were opposed.

The 2011 Karridale Hamlet Settlement Strategy slated the site for 20 lots and five “small holding lots around the periphery of the site,” the Shire report said.

The site is opposite the now-defunct Mindful Earth Sanctuary community site.

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