Medium density policy to create more diverse housing opportunities

  • McGowan Government opens consultation on new draft medium density housing policy
  • New policy prioritises design excellence and greater housing diversity in METRONET precincts, new suburbs and inner-city areas
  • Builds on McGowan Government’s historic planning reforms to support economy and jobs
  • Continued planning reform delivers streamlined State policies to guide future development 
  • A new policy released today for public comment will guide well-planned, well-designed medium density development, providing greater diversity of housing choice for future generations of Western Australians.

    Developed as part of the State Government’s Design WA initiative, the new planning policy applies to residential buildings up to four storeys high.

    The policy aims to ensure good design is at the heart of all new developments, including in METRONET precincts, and encourages a wider range of housing types from semi-detached houses, villas and townhouses through to terrace homes and low-rise apartments.

    It aims to address issues in how medium density housing is delivered across WA and is crucial to achieving a positive change in the built environment.

    The draft medium density policy considers how home design can improve liveability and respond to modern lifestyles, and how residential development should contribute to the character of streets and neighbourhoods to create authentic and vibrant communities. It also encourages sensible development and retaining a tree canopy.

    Four key elements of the policy are the importance of designing for the site, wind and sun; connecting the home with the garden; creating functional indoor and outdoor spaces; and ‘neighbourliness’ – how a dwelling responds to and fits within its surrounding area.

    More housing choice is needed to accommodate Perth’s growing and changing population, with an estimated 800,000 new homes needed over the next 20-30 years, many within appropriate locations within existing suburbs and METRONET precincts.

    The draft policy is part of a number of reforms implemented by the McGowan Government to create a streamlined and contemporary planning system that puts good design at the centre of planning and development.

    The McGowan Government’s first tranche of historic planning reforms passed Parliament earlier this year, aiming to cut red tape, encourage investment and support local jobs through COVID-19.

    A copy of the policy, more information and details of how you can have your say are online at https://www.consultation.dplh.wa.gov.au. Consultation is open until April 16, 2021. 

    As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:

    “This year we passed some of the most historic reforms to Western Australia’s planning system to support our economy through COVID-19.

    “This first tranche of reforms slashes red tape, encourages investment and supports local jobs.

    “Today’s medium density policy launch addresses Perth’s ‘missing middle’ and provides a guide to delivering a type of residential and community development that enhances our neighbourhoods and streetscapes.

    “This is particularly important as our population continues to grow and Western Australians seek a greater choice in where and how they choose to live.

    “The right mix of density and well-designed development will create new communities along our METRONET network where people want to live, work and recreate.”

    As stated by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti:

    “There has been a lot of medium density delivered over many years. But more recently, many of these developments have contributed to a significant loss of tree canopy and homes with a design that does not contribute positively to the neighbourhood.

    “People want to live close to services, jobs and good quality transport links. They want the option to remain in the community they love when they downsize, or to buy their first home close to family and friends, in a neighbourhood that is familiar.

    “Design WA sets a consistent benchmark for design excellence across all local governments, and ensures density is done well to provide a greater choice of housing diversity and create communities that will accommodate our growing and changing population.

    “Good design is integral to our urban environment. I encourage people to review the proposed policy and engage in informed discussions about the benefits that low to medium density can deliver for local economies, housing affordability and sustainable urban growth.”

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