8 Storeys hatched

Cameron Chisholm Nichol’s plans for the new serviced apartments.

MOUNT LAWLEY’S old Albany Bell Hatchery site on Guildford Road is to get eight storeys of 152 serviced apartments.

The state government’s Development Assessment Panel has overturned a Bayswater council recommendation that the development be rejected because of “an undue impact on the amenity of the area”. 

The council’s planning report notes eight stories is higher than the usual three-storey limit and the bulk is “inappropriate” for the neighbourhood. It also lists privacy concerns for neighbours and a scattering of other objections amounting to a “clear indication of overdevelopment of the site”.

Refusal

But the $15 million price tag means state government-controlled JDAPs get to make the call. It instead went to a vote at the JDAP with three state-appointed members and two councillors, Catherine Ehrhardt and mayor Dan Bull.

Robyn Bett lives at the Albany Bell Castle facing the hatchery site and agreed with the council’s reasons for refusal, along with concerns about short term accommodation.

“We want the vacant land to be developed, but with real neighbours – people we can get to know, people we can build community with,” she told the JDAP.  

“We would prefer a residential development whose rhythms and patterns match our own rather than a business that operates day and night, for a stream of visitors will not be interested in making this area a better place to live as they are just passing through. 

“Each day different strangers will be able to look into my apartment from their balconies. I will be like an animal in the zoo.”

But only Cr Bull voted against it.

The current site has been vacant for living memory.

David Read, director of the project’s applicant Element, argued the suburb was earmarked by council for future growth and the building “would be a positive outcome for the area”. 

He noted the nearby units The Gables were already 10 storeys and his building “steps down in height to reduce the impact … on the area and streetscape”. 

The hatchery’s facade will be kept. 

The Hatchery was Perth’s first dedicated chicken hatchery and part of Peter Albany Bell’s estate, which included the castle-shaped building next door. It’s now owned by Sunlong Holdings, self-described as “one of WA’s largest and most trusted Chinese apartment developer[s]”. 

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