THREE hundred homes and about 60 businesses will be impacted by WA Planning Commission plans to widen the Guildford Road reserve through Bayswater and Vincent.
About six kilometres between Tonkin Highway and East Parade would be affected by the proposed widening, which won’t add any lanes to Guildford Road but will create wider footpaths, bike paths and cheat lanes at intersections to give buses the drop on cars.
A planning commission report says the street was designed around cars: “Most of the existing retail and commercial buildings along Guildford Road are built right to the boundary of the road reserve with minimal verge widths. This creates narrow pedestrian paths,” the report says.
“It does not encourage the sense of pedestrian safety where pedestrians are close to the traffic. There are also no dedicated on-road or off-road cycling facilities, resulting in road safety concerns.”
But many locals have been told their properties are to be lopped as a result, while a number of businesses face partial demolition, which has the Maylands Ratepayers and Residents Association angry.
“The current plan is excessive, proposing to cut through various historic shops along Guildford Road in such a way that will require a partial or full demolition of those buildings, including their facades,” says association president Elli Petersen-Pik.
“While there might be a case for some changes to Guildford Road, any approach would have to be sensitive to the historic urban fabric of Maylands and Bayswater”.
Local Graeme Reany contacted the Voice saying he stands to lose six metres of his front yard if the project goes ahead.
The WAPC does compensate owners of reserved land, and the proposal states “generally reserved land can remain in private ownership until it is needed for the purpose for which it is reserved”.
Even so many aren’t keen: About 70 people showed up to a street meeting last week to oppose the plans.
The WAPC report says listed heritage buildings will be protected but there are other old buildings in the firing line that are not officially registered as heritage-significant.
“Whether you find those buildings beautiful or not, they make an irreplaceable contribution to the unique character of Maylands,” Mr Petersen-Pik says. “They are an enduring testament to the history of our suburb.”
Labor announced this week it would scrap the plan if elected.
The plan has been floating around since 2011 when it was considered and supported by Bayswater council, and was initially to have been put to the public in 2012.
The Voice understands that with a new regime at Bayswater, that support might now be revisited.
Submissions are open via http://www.planning.wa.gov.au until March 17.
by DAVID BELL