BLANKET heritage zones may be applied to Bayswater and Maylands town centres.
Dozens more individual properties have also been added to Bayswater council’s heritage list despite many owners saying they were not alerted.
Huge dissent preceded the vote at Bayswater council’s February 25 meeting, with one deputation after another calling for the Baysie town centre heritage area to be scrapped.
Councillors were also divided, with Michelle Sutherland saying the blanket heritage zones had already scared some investors out of town.
“I do know late last year some landowners in Maylands, on Guildford Road, had sold their properties because they’d heard about this and they got out,” Cr Sutherland said.
Respect Bayswater’s Heritage Heart member Keith Clements fronted the meeting to support the plan, saying most locals valued the town centre’s history.
But others were furious the city was ploughing ahead with its blanket declaration.
“It’s clear that no business or property owners were consulted,” said pharmacist Greg Da Rui.
Future Bayswater chair Paul Shanahan told the Voice he has a number of concerns about the plan, saying red tape would discourage investment and constrain revitalisation of the town centre – “a very important Metronet precinct where the government will spend over $200m of taxpayers’ money”.
Mr Shanahan said businesses were already struggling, with several shops vacant, other businesses up for sale and nearly everyone else struggling along.
“It is clear that there was no community momentum for this heritage area to be formed in the first place, while all community submissions were nearly unanimously against the proposal when it was advertised by council,” he said.
Mr Shanahan says news of the consultation only spread through word of mouth and when property owners looked into the proposal they were very unhappy.
“Sufficient heritage protections already exist for individual places…there is no need for another layer.”
Cr Filomena Piffaretti moved to defer the item but with a 4/4 split mayor Dan Bull used his casting vote to push it through on the night.
Eventually councillors voted to proceed with heritage listing the Maylands town centre, but will only ask the WA government’s Metronet developer Development WA to adopt a heritage zone over Bayswater and work with the council on guidelines.
It has yet to flesh out the details of how the heritage areas would work and the areas aren’t yet fully defined.
A staff report said heritage areas don’t stop all development: “The designation of a heritage area is intended to conserve and enhance the existing places that contribute to the cultural heritage of an area. This does not preclude alteration of or addition to places that contribute to this cultural heritage. Similarly, it would not preclude the demolition of places that are considered to make no contribution. However, any new development would be required to respect and enhance the cultural heritage of an area, which can still be achieved while accommodating modern buildings and higher density of development.”
Crs Lorna Clarke, Catherine Ehrhardt and Barry McKenna declared a financial interest and did not vote because they owned properties in the municipal heritage inventory.
by DAVID BELL