‘Nondescript’ and in a sea of asphalt, but Bayswater approves new station design
BAYSWATER councillors have given a thumbs up to Metronet’s Bayswater train station plans, despite the Government Architect’s ravaging review of the concrete design as “stripped back and nondescript”.
The WA Planning Commission makes the final call in December but councillors recommended approval subject to a score of conditions.
Councillors weren’t happy to see the train station surrounded by a harsh ring of three- and four-lane roads, saying it would make walking or cycling there a perilous journey.
Mayor Dan Bull said at the November 10 special council meeting: “It’s really important that the design of the roads is such that people feel confident and safe when they’re walking in and around the precinct” and when cycling there.
The council’s conditions include a lowered speed limit in the precinct (perhaps down to 30kmh), safer access for pedestrians and cyclists, and pulling out as few trees as possible.
The recommended improvements weren’t enough for Cr Catherine Ehrhardt, who pointed out “the State Design Review Panel’s report was scathing… [it] considers the design is ‘functional and bulky, lacking in attention to other disciplines regarding architecture, urban design and landscape’.
“The Office of the Government Architect was even more critical… the OGA stated the design is simply not good enough, and I quote ‘overall the design does not adequately respond to the distinctive character and context of the Bayswater town centre’.”
The OGA review said the pre-cast concrete design was a “stripped back and nondescript approach that lacks distinctiveness and character. This will limit the ability of this piece of infrastructure to play a broader civic role in catalysing regeneration”.
“Nondescript is not what the community hopes and dreams of,” Cr Ehrhardt said.
“I feel really uncomfortable about supporting what’s on the table even with the massive raft of conditions; conditions we know will likely be ignored by the WAPC if past history is to go by. I appreciate it’s an attempt to make this better but I’m not going to rubberstamp in any way, shape or form a substandard plan for one of our major town centres”.
Cr Michelle Sutherland said after years of consultation and work on the plan, “I do feel this station and locale, the whole region around it, should be world class.
“It will be one of the first glimpses of Perth for international visitors and will hopefully be a gateway to the east of Perth. I do feel parts of it are undercooked.”
Cr Bull warned if they voted it down, they might be shut out of negotiations to improve the plan down the road, and Crs Ehrhardt and Sutherland were the only votes against.
by DAVID BELL