NORTH ADELAIDE SOCIETY PLANING FORUM

I rise to update the house on the North Adelaide Society's recent spring forum held at the North Adelaide Community Centre on 15 September. Now in its 51st year, the North Adelaide Society has been a strong and vocal group who have advocated for the interests and protection of North Adelaide, South Australia's oldest metropolitan residential suburb.

The theme for the evening's panel discussion was the community's involvement in planning and development matters. It was well attended by some 60 attendees and moderated by urban and regional planner Donna Ferretti. Throughout my 11 years as the local member, I have been a member of the North Adelaide Society and attended many of their meetings. It is plainly evident that the local residents cherish the historic character of North Adelaide. Indeed, the City of Adelaide is home to some 27 per cent of South Australia's state and local heritage places, with many of these located in North Adelaide.

Throughout the evening, it was clear that residents are very aware of the shifting nature of development within the state, and there is some concern about how this may impact the local community. The evening was an opportunity to discuss what is working and what is not working in the planning and development sector. Understandably, there was concern about the development at 88 O'Connell Street but also some questions about how the newly implemented Planning and Design Code would operate throughout the suburb.

I was happy to inform the audience that the code, which is been implemented for only six months, provides more opportunities for community consultation and participation than under the previous system. Some examples include public notification for performance-assessed developments, better notification and community engagement for code amendments, access to all development applications in South Australia through the 24/7 online portal, as well as a newly implemented subscription service for local residents to sign up for updates on all development applications within their specified region.

Furthermore, the Planning and Design Code has been designed to provide clarity and consistency on policy matters across neighbourhoods and local government boundaries, replacing the 72 development plans into one standalone document. While the specific zoning policies contained within the code have predominantly been transitioned as like for like from the former development plans, there are several key themes regarding the amenity and livability for the new infill development, which were evident throughout the rounds of consultation.

Historic areas such as North Adelaide retain minimum block sizes, which means future developments will be provided on a one-to-one basis and will be in keeping with the heritage nature of the area. The reality is that the vast majority of developments occurring throughout the state are all from approvals under the old system. The Deputy Premier, in her capacity as Minister for Planning and Local government, has committed to reviewing the code at regular intervals, and there will be opportunities to make changes along the way.

The development application for 88 O'Connell Street was granted planning consent by the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) at its meeting on 23 June 2021 and the development application was assessed under rules created by John Rau in 2012. SCAP is a committee that is independent from government and is required to undertake an assessment of the application in accordance with the legislated processes specified by the Development Act 1993. In its assessment of the development application, SCAP was required to take into account the relevant policies within the Adelaide (City) Development Plan.

In particular, in the Main Street (O'Connell) Zone, which specifies height limits for all sites, there is an exception for sites greater than 1,500 square metres in the area. These sites are further defined as catalyst sites. Accordingly, the site does not have a specific limitation on building heights. The catalyst site policy was introduced by John Rau through his ministerial-led Capital City development plan amendment in 2012.

Since becoming the member for Adelaide in 2010, I have represented the North Adelaide community on a number of planning and development matters, including the Channel 9 Site DPA, Capital City DPA, and North Adelaide Large Institutions and Colleges DPA, after Labor allowed the various institutions across North Adelaide to expand wherever they pleased.

I have worked tirelessly with the Lord Mayor and planning ministers to ensure that, rather than unfettered expansion, the institutions can now only expand to directly adjoining sites. While I believe there is more work to be done on this policy, it was acknowledged that there have been positive steps taken to protect the residential character of the suburb. I continue to be a strong advocate for the heritage and local landscape of the North Adelaide region and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure our region is well maintained for future generations to come.