Julie Matheson

CFP Business Specialist | Local Government Expert | Community Advocate

Transforming Perth – high streets and infill

The Town of Claremont organised a presentation by the Property Council of Australia on their research report recently launched titled Transforming Perth.  This research was done in partnership with the Australian Urban Design Research Centre and Senator Scott Ludlam of The Australian Greens.

Myself, Crs Clements, Rowe and Potter attended this briefing.

It was held at the soon to be demolished Claremont footy club rooms.  The demolition and proposed development has been DAPped (a new expression I’ve been using when developments have been changed and approved through the DAP process!).  The Councillors I spoke with said that they were unsure of what the specifics will ultimately look like because of the DAP intervention process.  The obvious question here is what do Councillors tell ratepayers or other councillors like me asking questions about the proposed new build?  (Only the DAP know – unelected and unaccountable for their decision).

This report is my version of the presentation.  Other Councillors may have their own they wish to share.

As part of the introduction the Deputy Mayor of Claremont took a swipe at the Property Council’s lack of prioritisation for previously cancelling the meeting, and its role in promoting amalgamation referencing the headlines in The Post – “Get rid of the Cottesloes”, 20 July 2013, p.1.

The aim of the research was to infill some of the existing transport routes and reduce the need for more urban sprawl.  The 40 year Corridor Plan is passed its use by date for sprawling suburbia.  Enough already.

Seven major roads were identified:

  1. Charles St & Wanneroo Road
  2. Fitzgerald Street & Alexander Drive
  3. Scarborough Beach Road
  4. Great Eastern Highway
  5. South Street – Ranford Road to Armadale Road
  6. Hampton Road – Beeliar Drive
  7. Manning Road – (Thomas St & Winthrop Ave) Stirling Highway

Using Directions 2031 the research identified that 100% of the population infill targets could be achieved in Fremantle, Nedlands, Vincent, Claremont and South Perth using R80 infill, ref p.25.  If medium-high R100-R120 was used, the entire infill could be achieved at Belmont and Victoria Park.

The types of infill development to meet the proposed 327,618 number of dwellings with 2.6 people per dwelling have these features:

  • Boundary wall construction
  • Inhabited ceiling space
  • One car bay per dwelling at ground level
  • Ventilated habitable rooms while limiting road traffic noise
  • Two-bedroom configuration
  • Outdoor living space
  • Commercial tenancies incorporated on the ground and first floor

The main transport streets would require a significant overhaul from one storey buildings to four or five storeys.  The plans involve these streets becoming highly liveable and attractive High Streets.  It will require commitment from State Govt to establish an Integrated Design Commission based on the recommended South Australian model.

The planning criteria would include preservation of heritage, high quality design, provision of affordable and diverse housing, and sustainable and environmental performance.

Density bonuses and incentives would be provided to achieve the discontinuance of non-conforming uses, heritage protection, affordable housing, diversity including aged or dependent person dwellings, amalgamation of lots, high energy efficiency and best practice design for liveability – to be an instructive reference for local govt town planning schemes.

Public transport to play a key role in the development of a High Street/Activity Corridor.  Development of more sophisticated descriptions of road-types and use would be required.

Comments from questions:

  1. Air quality is problematic along these roads
  2. Only 14% of Perth has a 15 minute wait for the next bus.  These roads already or could meet this criteria.
  3. Suburbia with Radburn planning is hard to retrofit
  4. Current infill, subdividing a block, is destructive to the tree canopy
  5. It was pointed out that heritage listed buildings would be avoided in the infill. (Note the reference to “heritage listing”, not “heritage value”.)
  6. Affordable housing is not possible unless height is involved or the cost of land is substantially reduced.
  7. The Mayor of Nedlands noted that Stirling Highway traffic was a problem where commercial existed.  Residential only areas were less affected.  The conversion of Stirling Highway to a mixed use boulevard road would be problematic for traffic transfer to minor streets.   He also noted that Rokeby Road could be affected by a High Street infill on Thomas Road.
  8. The State Govt have just built a hospital carpark facing Kings Park, a perfect place for infill dwellings to meet the employment needs of a hospital.
  9. My research on affordable housing is based on Average Weekly Earnings which is currently around $87,984.  State Govt cost of housing from income be no more than 30%.  That would mean funding a home should be no more than $500 per week including payments for a loan of $300,000 at 6.15%.  Therefore affordable housing should be priced at around $300-$350k assuming one major bread-winner for the household.

To read more of the report:  http://www.propertyoz.com.au/wa/library/MSC041%20PAC%20State%20Gov%20Report%2028pp%20A4%20r9%20LR.pdf

Transforming Perth, Victoria Park, ref. page 35

Transforming Perth, Victoria Park, ref. page 35

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