Council bond weakens

THE MT Lawley Society says a plan flagged by Stirling council to allow Colorbond fences in heritage areas threatens to ruin the streetscapes.

Fencing between front gardens in the Mt Lawley and Inglewood heritage protection zones are currently restricted to timber, stone, wrought iron and brick fences less than a metre tall, allowing open viewing along the strett.

But council staff say after some precedents where other materials have been approved, it’s time to update the guidelines. They’ve also recommended a height of 1.2 metres for the opaque fencing.

The society reckons that’s “the beginning of the end” for the streetscape.

• Mt Lawley Society secretary Sheila Robinson and president Paul Collins. Photos by Steve Grant

The society say part of the heritage zone’s unique appeal is being able to view the quaint front gardens all the way down the street.

Society president Paul Collins says “our members have consistently supported open gardens.

“The ability to see through and across front gardens is an important and original character feature of the heritage protection areas as well as the use of masonry, limestone, wire and timber.

“In recent times wrought iron has been added as an approved fencing material.

“Introducing modern Colorbond in the front garden up to 1200mm will detrimentally change the character of the Inglewood and Mount Lawley heritage protection areas forever.”

• Passive surveillance would be limited by tall fences along the streetscape, says Mr Collins.

Mr Collins says eventually you’d only be able to enjoy the heritage homes by standing directly in front of them.

“We’re already seeing this in parts of North Perth.”

He says it will also make suburbs less safe, as sight lines along the street will be impacted by fencing.

When Stirling councillors vote on the proposed fence rule, it’ll be a test case for the Mt Lawley Society, being the first council decision affecting the organisation since October’s local government election. For many years the society has enjoyed strong support from veteran councillors Rod Willox (retired) and Terry Tyzack (who lost at last year’s election after 40 years on council). They were both made life members of the Society in December for their commitment to local heritage, the first non-members to be conveyed the honour.

by DAVID BELL

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