Without knowing demolition does not require approval anymore, we figured we won the war earlier this year. The war against an inappropriate change in zoning in Black Forest and Clarence Park (west).
We did, but little did we realise that hidden away in the detail, demolition does not require approval anymore. Yes, in the General Neighbourhood and Suburban Neighbourhood zones, you no longer must obtain development approval to demolish. Demolish your carport, your pergola, your pool, your rear lean-to verandah. Even your whole house.
The only demolition requiring approval under the planning & design code now is in the Established Neighbourhood Zone. The need to preserve our architectural history is the reason for still requiring approval in this zone. This covers fortunately approximately 80% of Unley residential properties.
So, if we are not trying to preserve history, there is therefore no reason for demolition to be refused. On the face of it, I guess this has prompted removing it from Planning legislation. Why go through the process then. For those in the building industry, this makes sense.
Black Forest and Clarence Park (west) are in the Suburban Neighbourhood zone. This means there are no longer any demolition controls in those suburbs.
The only trouble is doing so has consequences.
We have found several regulatory functions do not kick into gear as a result. Functions that regulate construction activity. Construction activity does not occur until there are approvals in place.
This means no control over asbestos removal. It means that cannot ensure the protection of significant trees until “construction” begins. Too late. It also means there is no oversight in Work, Health, Safety legislation. It probably also means we cannot control the hours of work on-site. What about dust control, or noise for that matter?
All these issues have been highlighted on just one site recently in Black Forest. I am sure there are bound to be other issues on other sites we have yet to experience.
So! While I understand the intent behind allowing demolition to proceed without development approval, I can’t accept the result.
Surely the Government did not intend this to happen. Happening, unfortunately, it is.
With an election looming, we have an opportunity to test this. We can question the candidates of both the government and the opposition if this is intended or not, or whether they are happy for this to remain.