Heritage wind back

New designs for the Lyric Theatre site will see less of the heritage-listed building retained.

But ADC keeps Lyric parking concessions

A CINEMA historian has decried new designs for the development that’ll sit atop the remains of Maylands’ Lyric Theatre, with more of its heritage fabric to be hacked away.

The Lyric Theatre was built at 43-53 Eight Avenue in 1923 and is listed as a “category 2” site on Bayswater council’s Local Heritage Survey, which states “any alterations or extensions should reinforce the significance of the place”.

Developer ADC’s initial plans to build seven storeys of apartments and five shops were approved in November 2020. They were allowed to demolish the roof, interior, and most of the walls save for the south-eastern wall which was to be kept. That wall’s inner side hosts elaborate plaster mouldings of pillars which formed part of the theatre’s ornate interior design. 

In return for keeping the historic wall, they got leeway on the usual rule requiring they either provide parking bays for visitors or pay a ‘cash-in-lieu’ fee for each missing bay. The cash-in-lieu can quickly end up being big bucks and is used by councils to pay for public carparks elsewhere to make up for the shortage. 

After the developer’s consultants spent some time poking around the building, they decided the wall was in too poor condition and that had to go too.

The redesigned version put to Bayswater council was approved in April.

Councillors Sally Palmer, Giorgia Johnson and Elli Petersen-Pik voted against the new design, but the majority won and now ADC can knock down the wall and still doesn’t have to provide visitor bays.

Another business owner on Eighth Ave told the April meeting it was unfair: Michiel De Ruyter said when he developed he’d had to pay into the cash-in-lieu fund for not having enough parking bays.

“I paid quite a bit of money because my commercial [developmment] didn’t come up to standard [of having enough bays],” he said. “They’ve got nil [parking], they’ve paid nothing. 

Heritage value

“This was because of the fact that they had had heritage value in their building. The variation sought removes much of the heritage structure, which was the basis of reducing car parking.”

Cr Petersen-Pik penned a social media post after the meeting saying “the availability of car parking in the Maylands Town Centre continues to be the biggest concern raised with me by both businesses and residents. While constraining parking supply can help to increase the number of people using public transport, walking and cycling, at least some car parking does need to be provided.”

He said allowing the removal of the historic wall undid “a lot of effort… invested by many (including myself) to protect this important historic building, which did not have any protection until a couple of years ago”.

Cinema history expert Greg Lynch, who grew up in Maylands and who went on to a career in film after watching movies at the Lyric back in the 1940s, was no fan of the original plan and further decried the April redesign.

Mr Lynch said the redesign “completely destroys, beyond reclamation the buildings heritage value”.


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