TWO heritage buildings in Bayswater are temporarily safe from demolition after a state planning panel unexpectedly rejected plans for a seven-storey project.
The local development assessment panel rejected, four votes to one, Yolk Property Group’s proposal for 27 apartments at 9-11 King William Street.
Yolk director Pete Adams concedes the decision blind-sided him.
“We have been working closely with the City of Bayswater for over 12 months to create plans that work with their vision to help re-energise the street and also to accommodate the state’s vision to create transit-orientated developments near train stations,” he said.
“Given we met all the requests we were a bit surprised.”
Dozens of local protestors welcomed the decision, however, including federal Perth Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan, who admitted thinking she had been fighting a losing battle.
The decision preserves, for now at least, two 1905 buildings, a red brick cottage and streetfront shop which was originally McLeish’s Grain Store and built by prominent builder Henry Halliday.
Having spoken against the proposal at Monday’s DAP meeting, Ms MacTiernan, formerly a state planning minister, says the plans should not have gone as far as they had. She criticised Yolk for seeking to squeeze an extra two storeys on the original five-storey plan by lowering ceiling heights.
She says this should be a wake-up call for authorities to listen to local communities, saying “there was no real engagement”.
“It’s laughable…it was a pathetic attempt at heritage retention,” she says.
Locals say the proposal did not suit the area’s village feel: they want a smaller proposal that retains more heritage and has space for trees.
The DAP’s reason for refusal was the proposal’s failure to adhere to the local planning scheme. It was two storeys too high, did not provide enough privacy for residents, and setbacks were off.
The DAP consists of three appointed members and two Bayswater councillors, Terry Kenyon and Chris Cornish. Appointed panellist Luigi D’Alessandro voted to approve the proposal.
Protestor Jacquie Kelly, who unsuccessfully stood for north ward at the recent council elections, is concerned the panel spoke little about protecting heritage.
While happy the development was knocked back, she notes the council gave demolition approval in February, requiring just the facades to be kept.
“I’ll be demanding an investigation into how this got through and how we got to this point,” she says.
“This is not a win, but a step…let’s not let this happen again.”
Mr Adams says his company will meet with opponents “to listen to concerns” and then review “what is possible”.
by EMMIE DOWLING