An interest in conflicts.


Have you ever heard of a Councillor giving evidence AGAINST the same Council in a planning appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal (“SAT”) ?

In another superb article by the team at Stirling Community Matters it happened at the City of Stirling.…/…

Readers of my blog will be aware that Cr Bianca Sandri of the Inglewood Ward is a qualified town planner, owning and operating a town planning firm, Ubanista Town Planning.

Urbanista are active in the City of Stirling and when their client’s development application in Balcatta was refused by Stirling Council in 2018, Urbanista led the SAT appeal and surprisingly called Cr Sandri to give evidence in support of the applicant (against the City) which began at paragraph 28 of the decision, link here:-…/DownloadDecision…

Councillors are prohibited from voting or participating in decisions at Council where there is a financial interest. SAT appeals are heard ‘de novo’, meaning from the beginning, so why wouldn’t a sitting Councillor stay well away from such appeals?

… a very good question !

It is recorded in minutes of the Council decision refusing the application (20 February 2018) that ‘Councillor Bianca Sandri disclosed a Financial Interest as her company provided advice to the applicant.’

Why didn’t that financial interest apply to the SAT appeal?

There must be rules and serious consequences in local government preventing Councillors serving two financial masters at a SAT appeal? If not then there certainly needs to be.

Stirling Community Matters also updated us on Urbanista’s latest activity in Stirling – a development given glowing praise by the City’s Design Review Panel but refused by the Joint Development Assessment Panel.

Readers of my blog may remember my post of 18 April 2018 where I detailed Cr Sandri’s motion for the introduction of the City’s Design Review Panel.

All my concerns about this panel are listed in that post, not the least of which being a bunch of un-elected property industry professionals giving their subjective views on ‘design excellence’ to the exclusion of all community (…’Design Review Panel’ meetings are held behind closed doors!).

The City’s Design Review Panel commented favourably on the development design lodged by Cr Sandri’s town planning firm client but the design was then exposed as deficient and ultimately refused at the decision making hurdle, explaining the justifiable short shrift on the design by the team at Stirling Community Matters.

I wonder if Cr Sandri will participate in any appeal that might be led by her town planning firm at the State Administrative Tribunal?

Where’s the ‘design excellence’ in the City’s Design Review Panel ?