THE fate of two old buildings that have divided community opinion in Bayswater will be decided on November 5 – Guy Fawkes Night.
Nearly 500 years after the Gunpowder Plotters attempted to obliterate the British House of Lords, Bayswater councillors will decide whether to allow the demolition of 9 and 11 King William Street.
The owner, Yolk Property, does not have immediate plans to replace the buildings, as a previous approval for apartments (which had to retain some of the historic facade) has now expired.
Planning staff at Bayswater say the developer now wants a “cleared and unconstrained” site prior to redevelopment.
But they’ve recommend councillors refuse the demolition, in part because of the “undue impact on the amenity of the area by virtue of the loss of a continuous streetscape, social and historic values and traditional character of the Bayswater town centre”.
The planners are in a race against time: The state government is soon taking over planning control of the area for a Metronet-related upgrade of the train station with plans to “maximise development opportunities”.
The council will have to quickly finish its updated Inventory of Heritage Places which has gone back to the planners after consultation. The draft declared Bayswater town centre a “heritage area” and put both buildings into a classification that gives them at least some legislative protection.
It’s not a hard block to a bulldozer, but it would mean a developer has to prove there’s no way to build on the site without demolishing, and in King William Street case Bayswater staff say there’s plenty of space behind the buildings (578sqm).
Maylands town centre would also be included as a heritage area if the draft inventory is approved.
For demolition …
‘The buildings hold no importance from a heritage or community perspective, and contribute little to the Bayswater town site. Simply being an old building does not equal heritage value’
… and against
‘Both buildings are over 100 years old and link back to the … local cultural heritage of a farming district, master builders and settlers, showing how everyday working people lived.
by DAVID BELL