Locals divided as tea house set to disappear
A TUSSLE is brewing at Maylands Peninsula, with locals divided over plans to turn the old Tranby tea gardens into a pizza bar.
The WA National Trust owns Peninsula Farms, co-named Wu-ru Woorat, where an operator ran a tea room in the smaller caretaker building west of the old 1834 Tranby House until earlier this year.
But in June 2019 the trust asked for renewed expressions of interest, and after delays related to Covid, recently chose the people behind Northbridge’s historically-housed Picabar as a new tenant to open a restaurant serving pizza, beer and wine.
But that’s divided locals into groups that liked a low-key tea room and others who felt it had limited opening hours and a small selection of fare (online reviews weren’t raving, averaging 2.5 out of 5 stars).
Two petitions have now been created, one for and one against.
The petition in favour by Krista de Blanken says “the area is significantly underutilised” and they like the past work Picabar’s people have done running a venue in a heritage building.
The pro-tea, anti-pizza petition “Save Maylands Heritage and Environment”, by a group described as The Custodians, takes umbrage at the lack of consultation, opposes liquor being served until a potential 10pm closing time, and fears for the venerable building’s integrity.
It says: “Contempt has been shown for the effect this will have on ageing residents who have lived nearby for many years, as well as local people and visitors who enjoy the peaceful ambiance of this uniquely quiet place.”
The lack of consultation led to fears the venue’s capacity could jump from 70 to 300, but the Trust has since clarified the maximum patrons will be 120, and the 300 number is the site-wide Peninsula Farms capacity that is unchanged.
The Trust said there’ll be no new buildings or redevelopment of the old ones, a concern sparked by a draft master plan showing the area marked for “potential adaptation”.
“There are no plans to redevelop existing heritage buildings or to install exclusion fencing,” a primer from the Trust says.
Instead there’ll likely be extended outdoor seating around the old oak tree and a nature playground.
Since it’s so close to the river an application would still have to go to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and the liquor department would need to sign off on a booze licence.
A letter from NTWA CEO Julian Donaldson advises residents they’ll have the “opportunity for comment” when the DBCA application goes in.
The Trust predicts it’ll be about six months from application to opening, and in the meantime they’re installing a temporary takeaway cafe from mid-April.
by DAVID BELL