A NEW residents’ group is pushing for Bayswater council to hold the line against opponents of its plans for a five-storey city centre.
Future Bayswater formed after groups such as Keith Clements’ Bayswater Deserves Better started pushing for the council to put a three-storey cap in a structure plan for the precinct that it’s currently developing.
Future Bayswater member Paul Shanahan says developers may walk if the city isn’t bold enough to embrace high-rise.
He’s talked with “several” friends in the building business and has formed the view three storeys is unviable. The “sweet point” is five, he says.
“We’re concerned if this motion got through, a lack of development would occur,” the former council candidate says.
“The townsite, in my opinion, has struggled and a three-storey limit may not help it recover.
“There are about eight of us who have started this, and more support us.”
Mr Shanahan notes Future Bayswater supports heritage retention — as long as it has merit.
He supported Yolk Property Group’s proposal for a seven-storey development at 9-11 King William Road, which was knocked back by the metro central development assessment panel.
The proposal would have meant the demolition of two century-old heritage buildings, leaving only a single facade.
“I would question the real heritage value of the site,” he says. “I would say the proposal was fine, to be honest, and I know others would disagree. But in no way do I think it should be open slather.”
Dozens of locals fought Yolk’s proposal, including Mr Clements, who says anything taller than three storeys is out of kilter.
At a public meeting with the council last month, he showed a crowd of 82 people an animated video of what the town could look like with three-storey limits.
“There’s been a bit of debate about whether it should be five storeys or not and it’s all just a commercial money grab, really,” Mr Clements says.
Michael Little, from Embleton’s Built Ink construction and design team, begs to differ.
“Yes, three storeys might be OK in the long term, but I wouldn’t predict any real profits in the first decade,” Mr Little says.
“Seven to eight storeys would definitely be too much for that area because of the amount of land and parking required for a building of that size.”
Yolk director Pete Adams told the Voice he’s in mediation with the metro central joint development assessment panel in an attempt to tease out issues.
“We have spent the last couple of months meeting and listening to stakeholders and the community in regards to thoughts on the … precinct,” Mr Adams says.
“The local and stakeholder views are very diverse on the development of [it], ranging from zero development to a huge groundswell of local residents who are keen to see the town centre revitalised with shops, cafes and the density to support this vibrancy.”
He denied rumours the company is appealing to the state administrative tribunal to try to get the seven storeys pushed through.
Any changes to Yolk’s plans will go through Bayswater council and the WA planning panel for approval. He did not say when that was likely to happen.
The structure plan is likely to take 12 – 18 months to complete.
by EMMIE DOWLING