Draft Position Statement: Special entertainment precincts

The State Government is seeking 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 the reforms which aim to balance the needs of entertainment venues, other businesses and residents in premier entertainment areas.

A draft WAPC position statement and options for proposed amendments to DWER’s noise regulations are now out for public comment.

Make a submission

Draft WAPC Position Statement: Special Entertainment Precincts

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.

Submissions close 5pm, 14 February 2020. Late submissions will not be considered. 

Online submissions can be made using the online feedback form.

WAPC Online feedback form

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 close 5pm, 14 February 2020. Late submissions will not be considered.

DWER online feedback form

Information sessions

Information sessions will be held in early January and early February 2020, where the reform process will be explained in further detail. Representatives from the Department (on behalf of the WAPC) and DWER will be available to answer any questions you have. To register your interest to attend please email entertainment-noise@dwer.wa.gov.au by 10 January 2020.

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?

DWER’s consultation paper includes details that relate to the City of Perth’s draft proposal to establish Northbridge as the State’s first special entertainment precinct.

Should the City of Perth formally initiate a scheme amendment to its City Planning Scheme No. 2 to establish the Northbridge Special Entertainment Precinct, the city will seek further community input.

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?

Please visit https://consult.dwer.wa.gov.au/ or email entertainment-noise@dwer.wa.gov.au for more information on options for proposed amendments to DWER’s Noise Regulations.

Page last reviewed 22 November 2019
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