Draft Position Statement: Special entertainment precincts

In early 2020, the State Government sought feedback on reforms to establish special entertainment precincts in Western Australia.

The Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) has worked closely with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) on these reforms which aim to balance the needs of entertainment venues, other businesses and residents in premier entertainment areas.

Further work has also progressed in relation to the City of Perth’s plans to establish Northbridge as Western Australia’s first special entertainment precinct. 

A draft WAPC position statement and options for proposed amendments to DWER’s noise regulations were released for public comment on 22 November 2019 for 12 weeks.

The reform package focusses on measures to assist with post COVID-19 economic recovery, acknowledging the impact lockdowns had on the entertainment industry.

Draft WAPC Position Statement: Special Entertainment Precincts

The draft WAPC Position Statement: Special Entertainment Precincts provides guidance to local governments on the establishment of special entertainment precincts and minimum requirements for scheme provisions.  Given the complex nature of entertainment noise in Northbridge, when finalised, the final position statement will have regard to the feedback from public consultation, the proposed City of Perth Northbridge amendment and engagement with industry and environmental stakeholders.

Submissions closed 14 February 2020. A summary of public consultation feedback can be found on our consultation hub.

Contact: infrastructure@dplh.wa.gov.au 

Proposed amendments to DWER’s Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997

Options for proposed amendments to DWER’s Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 to provide for certain entertainment venues to exceed the assigned (prescribed) noise levels for day-to-day operations through a venue approval process.

Submissions closed 14 February 2020. Further details, including links to supporting technical studies, can be found on the DWER website.

Contact: entertainment-noise@dwer.wa.gov.au

Proposed Northbridge special entertainment precinct
(City of Perth City Planning Scheme No. 2 Amendment No. 41)

The City of Perth (the City) initiated scheme amendment No. 41 to its City Planning Scheme No.2 in December 2019 to establish Northbridge as Western Australia’s first special entertainment precinct. 

Since amendment No. 41 was initiated, a significant amount of new information has become available. This includes a review of submissions received on the draft Position Statement, many of which were directly relevant to the proposed Northbridge Special Entertainment Precinct, and an analysis of further technical studies commissioned by DWER to better understand the impact of entertainment noise in Northbridge. A summary of public consultation feedback can be found on our consultation hub.

As a result of this new information, the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage recommends the City advertise amendment No. 41 with additional supplementary information that includes an alternative option, Option B. The intent of this revised consultation approach is to ensure the public can comment on the most comprehensive and up-to-date information possible. 

Pending an upcoming decision on the proposed consultation methodology by the City, the City’s community consultation on the Northbridge special entertainment precinct scheme amendment is expected to commence shortly.

For the most up-to-date information, please visit the City of Perth website.

Contact: info@cityofperth.wa.gov.au 
 

Frequently asked questions

What is a position statement?

A position statement sets out the policy position of the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) with respect to a particular planning matter.

The Draft Position Statement: Special Entertainment Precincts provides guidance to local governments on the establishment of special entertainment precincts and minimum requirements for local government scheme provisions.

What is a special entertainment precinct?

A special entertainment precinct is an area with a diverse mix of land uses (both residential and commercial), including entertainment venues that contribute to an active night-time economy.

Why do we need a different approach to noise management in entertainment areas?

As Perth moves to accommodate a growing population through infill development, entertainment venues located near residential areas are finding it increasingly difficult to comply with current noise regulations.

The State Government wants to maintain the character of entertainment areas and provide an increased level of assurance to venue operators and the music industry. We also want to ensure efforts are taken by all parties to reduce the impact of entertainment noise wherever possible.

Designating an area as a special entertainment precinct will help provide better protection for venues and clear and consistent guidelines for new developments.

What will these changes involve?

The reforms will improve the way noise is managed, and ensure future developments are well-designed and buyers well-informed. The reform package involves:

  • Draft WAPC Position Statement: Special Entertainment Precincts to guide local governments who want to establish special entertainment precincts in local planning schemes and include details that:
    • ensure all new noise-sensitive (including residential) developments demonstrate how construction and design will minimise the impact of entertainment noise on residents.
    • ensure all new entertainment venues demonstrate how construction and design will minimise entertainment noise emitted from the venue.
    • provide for new developments to have a notification placed on the title to inform buyers of the potential for higher noise levels due to their location in a special entertainment precinct.
  • Options for proposed amendments to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s (DWER) Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 (Noise Regulations) to provide for certain entertainment venues to exceed the assigned (prescribed) noise levels for day-to-day operations through a venue approval process.

In addition, local governments (or the relevant responsible authority) will need to make an amendment to the planning scheme or redevelopment scheme to establish a special entertainment precinct. This will be done by designating a special control area in their local planning scheme, the purpose of which will be to outline the strategic intent for the precinct.

How loud is it likely to get in special entertainment precincts?

Vibrant entertainment areas like Northbridge already experience relatively high levels of amplified music and patron noise during busy night-time periods on the weekends.

When designating special entertainment precincts, local governments will need to establish boundaries and strategic noise levels for the precinct for the purposes of building attenuation (minimising the impact of entertainment noise on residents). This would be done in consultation with the local community.

How do these changes involve Northbridge?

The City of Perth has formally initiated scheme amendment No. 41 to its City Planning Scheme No. 2 to establish the Northbridge Special Entertainment Precinct. The City will shortly be seeking further community input on this proposal. Please visit here for more information.

An overview of these reforms and how they relate to Northbridge is also provided in the Special Entertainment Precincts Fact Sheet.

Will special entertainment precincts be established in other local government areas?

While Northbridge is being considered as the State’s first special entertainment precinct, these reforms will provide the framework for any local government to establish special entertainment precincts within their area.  

Local governments will need to consult with their communities to find the right balance between the needs of entertainment venues, residents and other businesses.

What do these reforms mean for existing residential developments within a special entertainment precinct?

These reforms apply to new developments and extensions, and will not apply retrospectively.

The position statement outlines the WAPC policy position that only new development should be required to attenuate. However, should you undertake extensions which include habitable rooms (like bedrooms or living areas) these new areas will need to be appropriately attenuated to minimise the impact of entertainment noise on residents.

Will this increase building or fitout costs in special entertainment areas?

All new developments – including music venues and residential buildings – will need to demonstrate how they will minimise the impact of entertainment noise on residents.

For residential buildings, this may be achieved through construction and design standards to protect against noise intrusion, such as balcony glazing and acoustic absorbent ceiling treatments.

Entertainment venues can demonstrate compliance through construction and design standards or through how they operate their venue.

I have more questions about noise levels and venue approvals. Who can I speak to?

The Special Entertainment Precincts Fact Sheet provides an overview of the reforms, including proposed noise levels and venue approval process.

For more information on options for proposed amendments to DWER’s Noise Regulations, including the framework to establish the proposed venue approval process, please visit https://consult.dwer.wa.gov.au/legislation-and-national-policy/seps/ or email entertainment-noise@dwer.wa.gov.au.

For questions specific to the proposed Northbridge Special Entertainment Precinct please visit the City of Perth website or contact the City of Perth at info@cityofperth.wa.gov.au.

Page last reviewed 17 September 2020
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