BAYSWATER Deserves Better says a town centre structure plan proposed by the council needs beefing up to preserve heritage buildings and ensure future developments are sympathetic to the area.
The draft plan is out for comment until September 27 and will set the stage for future developments, proposing up to five-storey buildings in the King William Street area.
The plan also “envisions an increase in local cafes, shops and other retail” but it says that’ll only work if more people live there, meaning new apartments are key to making new businesses financially viable.
Tessa Hopkins from community group BDB says she has “serious doubts” that the current plan will protect those early buildings.
Of the 18 or so heritage and character buildings in King William Street and Whatley Crescent, 13 are on the second run of classification on the heritage inventory, meaning they only have to be “considered” in any new planning application.
It doesn’t prevent them being demolished when the block’s redeveloped.
With most of these planning decisions now in the hands of the Development Assessment Panel, BDB’s worried these old buildings will be knocked down one by one as landowners take advantage of the new height limits in the structure plan.
BDB formed in response to the Yolk Property Group development at 9/11 King William Street, which they considered to be an oversize boxy project that looked out of place and would dwarf the surrounding buildings.
The DAP allowed Yolk to build seven storeys high, despite Bayswater’s town planning scheme having a five-storey limit.
But the building did win some fans from another group Future Bayswater, who are pushing for a six-storey limit in the King William Street area to get more people living in that part of town. Some building owners don’t want more heritage protection: they’re eager to sell up or develop their properties and don’t want heritage restrictions getting in their way.
When the Voice dropped by to take a photo on Tuesday, one of the property owners came out and verbally abused the BDB group for interfering.
The draft scheme’s available for viewing at engage.bayswater.wa.gov.au.
by DAVID BELL