High stakes

HIGH rise towers could ruin Bayswater’s historic town centre when the state government takes over planning control of the area around the train station, says Bayswater Deserves Better.

This week the McGowan government announced it was taking over planning control around the Bayswater train station from council to “maximise development opportunities” when the station is upgraded for Metronet.

12 storeys

BDB spokesperson Angie Maher says they supported council’s plan for a modest cap of four to five storeys in the town centre along King William Street.

“The council have been great, and have been listening to both sides of the argument…we’re concerned that bypassing council and the Development Assessment Panel process, we might end up with 10 or 12 storeys in the town centre which is a bit incongruous,” she says.

“97 per cent of respondents said they value the heritage and character of the town centre. We’re concerned that is going to be all for naught.

“That bulk and scale next to heritage buildings isn’t what people moved to Bayswater for.”

• Planning in the orange area is now under state government control. Map data from openstreetmap.org under the Open Database License

Bayswater mayor Dan Bull says the news has divided opinion: “for some, this will be really bad news. Others will be high five-ing each other. Some people won’t care either way, and I am sure many will have questions.”

“At the end of the day, it’s so important that the redevelopment of the Bayswater town site is done in a way that listens to our community, and works collaboratively with the community and council so that future development takes into account the character and heritage of the neighbourhood, we ensure our tree canopy is protected and enhanced, as well as public open space, and that it continues to be a place people love to live in and visit.”

Future Bayswater, a group of residents and business owners keen to see the area redeveloped, has welcomed the announcement.

The group was underwhelmed by Bayswater council’s draft “structure plan” for the area.

FB spokesperson Paul Shanahan, who won the Planning Institute of Australia’s “planning champion” award last year, had previously said the council’s structure plan was too low-density to create a “vibrant and economically sustainable town centre”.

The state government’s takeover plan involves expanding the “Midland Redevelopment Area” into a “non-contiguous area” that resembles a dismembered salamander, encompassing Bayswater and Forrestfield train stations.

The area extends along King William Street to Almondbury Street, and up Beechboro Road to Foyle Road.

It’s nearly the exact area Bayswater council had hoped its structure plan would apply to.

The area will now be handled by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, who will be writing a planning framework in the coming months.

by DAVID BELL

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