PROPOSED NORTHBRIDGE SPECIAL ENTERTAINMENT PRECINCT

The City of Perth is proposing to amend its City Planning Scheme No. 2 (CPS2) to establish a Special Control Area over the Northbridge Entertainment Precinct.

This will see amendments to the planning framework in the City of Perth. Some properties within the City of Vincent may receive unacceptable entertainment music noise indoors.

The proposal is open for comment on Engage Perth until 26 February 2021.

Background

The City of Perth is proposing to amend its City Planning Scheme No. 2 (CPS2) to establish a Special Control Area over the Northbridge Entertainment Precinct.

In summary, the scheme amendment proposes to:

  • Define a Core and Frame Entertainment Area;
  • Identifying maximum noise levels for entertainment venues for attenuation purposes; and
  • Setting noise attenuation requirements for new noise sensitive development and new entertainment venues.

Maximum noise levels will be set in the low frequency ranges of 63Hz and 125Hz. This type of noise is generally referred to the base or ‘doof doof’ characteristic of amplified music.

In December 2019, the City of Perth Council approved for public comment, Amendment No. 41 to the CSP2.

The Council also agreed on the 29 September 2020 to include supplementary information provided by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage. This includes an ‘Option B’ which has been informed by feedback on the draft Western Australian Planning Commission Position Statement: Special Entertainment Precincts and further acoustic technical studies provided by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation

The key differences between ‘Option B’ compared to Amendment No. 41 include:

  • Expanding the Core Entertainment Area;
  • Reducing the maximum noise level for entertainment venues in the Core Entertainment Area from 95dB down to 90dB in the 63 Hz octave band;
  • Reducing the Frame Entertainment Area in the northwest corner of the precinct, to acknowledge the predominately residential character of this area; and
  • Introducing a new Transition Area between the Core and Frame Entertainment Areas, where new noise sensitive developments will be required to attenuate to Core levels and entertainment venues will be limited to Frame levels.

The key differences between Amendment No. 41 and ‘Option B’ is visually represented here.

To support a Special Control Area such as the proposed Northbridge Entertainment Precinct, changes to the Noise Regulations will be necessary. This is because sound levels proposed in the scheme amendment exceed the established assigned levels of the Noise Regulations.

The Department of Water and Environmental Protection (DWER) released a paper on proposed options to provide for certain entertainment venues to exceed the assigned (prescribed) noise levels for day to day operations through a venue approval process. Further information can be found here: 

Northbridge entertainment noise

What has happened so far?

To assist with the planning and environmental health reforms to facilitate a scheme amendment of this nature, the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH), the Department of Water and Environmental Regulations (DWER) released for public consultation between the 22 November 2019 and 14 February 2020, the following documents:

  1. Western Australian Planning Commission Position Statement: Special Entertainment Precincts; and
  2. Department of Water and Environmental Regulation – ‘Managing Amplified Music Noise in Entertainment Precincts’. 

Vincent Council endorsed a submission by the City on these two papers at the February 2020 Ordinary Meeting of Council – See Item No. 9.6 ‘Comment on Draft WAPC Position Statement: Special Entertainment Precincts and DWER Consultation Paper’.

In summary, the City supported the intent of the draft position statement by WAPC on Special Entertainment Precincts but noted that any changes to the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 (the Noise Regulations) needed to be balanced to ensure it is supported by extensive scientific research to ensure the wellbeing of affected residents is not unduly compromised.

Acoustic studies by Department of Water & Environmental Regulation (DWER)

In response to the outcomes of the consultation by DPLH and DWER, the DWER undertook further technical investigations around the impacts of noise of the proposal.

An overview of the Northbridge Entertainment Precinct noise studies by DWER can be found here:

Northbridge entertainment noise

The Acoustic Studies that have informed the proposed Scheme Amendment by the City of Perth are:

‘Low Frequency Music Noise Prediction’ report by Lloyd George Acoustics

In summary, this mapped the existing venues within the Northbridge Entertainment Precinct and modelled several scenarios applicable to the proposed scheme amendments. For easy reference, Figure 4-10 most closely resembles sound travel of Amendment No. 41, and Figure 5-6b most closely resembles sound travel of ‘Option B’.

‘Northbridge Noise Monitoring Report’ 2019 – Lloyd George Acoustics

This is one of the original studies used to map and model sound levels of the Northbridge Entertainment Precinct.

‘Acoustic Report Northbridge Entertainment Precinct – Evaluation of Residential Building Attenuation’ report by Gabriels Hearne Farrell.

This report speaks to the construction requirements necessary to attenuate low frequency noise and importantly references the effective limit for emission of sound in a SCA should be 70dB at 125Hz and 79db at 63Hz (low frequency noise). It states this provides for the protection of the health and amenity of new noise sensitive receivers, whilst maintaining technical and economic feasibility in the design and construction of new buildings. The proposed ‘Core’ of Amendment 41 and Option B both exceed this level. This has effectively ruled out new noise sensitive development in the Core.

What does this mean for properties located in the City of Vincent?

Both proposals, being Amendment 41 and ‘Option B’, will impact City of Vincent properties as demonstrated in the noise modelling scenarios shown in this map.

This map shows a 67db contour line for both Amendment No. 41 (blue dashed line) and Option B (yellow dashed line), which predicts the properties that could be impacted by entertainment music noise.

Up to 3500 residents/owners in Vincent could be affected by Amendment No. 41. The impact of Option B would affect less properties as the Core Area has a lower capped maximum sound level.

DWER has advised some Vincent residents could receive higher sound levels than predicted as the noise modelling shows, given the typical construction of single dwellings in this area is not consistent with the assumptions the modelling was based on. For example, the assumed glazing on apartments in the City of Perth is 10.38mm glass while some City of Vincent properties are more likely to be constructed with glazing of 6.38mm or less.

Retro-fitting noise attenuation measures to existing noise-sensitive premises may assist in protecting the health and amenity of the resident but will impose a cost on the building owner. This would also present an issue for properties included on the City’s Municipal Heritage Inventory which may not have the ability to be upgraded to attenuate the noise. This is because there would be limitations on structural modifications that could be made to a heritage listed dwelling or building, not consistent with the attenuation measures required to achieve effective noise transmission loss.

The City’s submission to the two State consultation papers in February 2020 sought guidance and feedback from the WAPC and DWER on how this may be adequately addressed. The City did not receive a response.

Depending on the outcome of the CPS2 scheme amendment, additional construction requirements to attenuate low frequency (bass) noise may be required for City of Vincent properties, potentially increasing construction costs of new development by more than 7 percent. Without implementing such controls, noise sensitive developments in Vincent may receive sound levels in excess of those consistent with the protection of health and amenity. Controls may come in the form of an amendment to the City of Vincent’s Local Planning Scheme and/or development of a local planning policy to ensure new development in impacted areas have suitable development control.

How will making a noise complaint change?

Proposed amendments to the Noise Regulations have not yet been released by DWER. This is required to enable an amendment of this nature to the City of Perth CPS2 to take effect. It is likely to see the inclusion of a ‘Venue Approval’ which entertainment premises within an SCA could apply for.

Permitted sound levels for those approvals would be set consistent with those in the Scheme. Entertainment premises who hold a Venue Approval would then be exempt from the requirement to comply with the assigned levels of the Noise Regulations.

This would have a flow on effect to the way noise complaints against entertainment venues in a SCA are investigated. It would see compliance being measured at the noise emitter, rather than what the current practice is, by measuring at the receiver. If the measured levels are compliant at the venue (within the City of Perth SCA), no further action would be required even if the levels are higher than the assigned levels set for the noise receiving premises (which may be in Vincent).

What is the City of Vincent doing in response to this proposal?

Administration presented a report to Council at the 15 December 2020 Ordinary Meeting of Council, with a draft submission on the proposed scheme amendment. 

The meeting minutes can be found on the following page (refer to item 9.5):

2020 Council Meetings

Where can I find out more information?

The City of Perth has a dedicated engagement page on their website for this project, where you will find key documents and information. Please go to the following website for further information:

 Engage Perth

How can I make comment on the proposal?

You can make an online submission on the proposed Scheme Amendment on the Engage Perth website. The proposal is open for comment on Engage Perth until 26 February 2021.

Engage Perth

Alternatively, you can make a written submission by clicking here to access an electronic copy of the standard Submission Form 3A, which can be downloaded and returned by:

Email: info@cityofperth.wa.gov.au

Hand delivery: Council House, 27 St Georges Tce, PERTH WA

Post:

The Chief Executive Officer of the City of Perth, 

(Attn: Customer Experience)

GPO Box C120 

Perth WA 6839