Draft Position Statement: Special entertainment precincts
In early 2020, the State Government sought feedback on reforms to establish special entertainment precincts in Western Australia.
What is a position statement? What is a special entertainment precinct?
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.
Why do we need a different approach to noise management in entertainment areas?
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.
What will these changes involve?
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.
How loud is it likely to get in special entertainment precincts?
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 do these changes involve Northbridge?
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.
Will special entertainment precincts be established in other local government areas?
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.
What do these reforms mean for existing residential developments within a special entertainment precinct?
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.
Will this increase building or fitout costs in special entertainment areas?
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.
I have more questions about noise levels and venue approvals. Who can I speak to?
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions specific to the proposed Northbridge Special Entertainment Precinct please visit the City of Perth website or contact the City of Perth at email@example.com.