Respect Bayswater's Heritage Heart

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Bayswater town centre is at risk of losing its heritage heart - King William Street and Whatley Crescent.

Bayswater Council’s Structure Plan for the town centre favours the conservation of the irreplaceable heritage buildings which make up this small but special precinct: 

“The Structure Plan area contains a wealth of early building stock. It is important that these valued buildings are identified, retained and innovatively incorporated alongside new development as part of future planning works to ensure what gives Bayswater its unique identity is not lost.” (page 64, Bayswater Town Centre Structure Plan)

The Council plan recommends that medium density (maximum of four storeys) be allowed in King William Street and Whatley Crescent, and that all new development respect the area’s context, scale and character - not overpower it. 

We applaud Bayswater Council’s ambition of seeking to balance conserving the many original buildings in our town centre’s heritage heart, with new development which is architecturally sensitive.

Our concern is that the State Government, through the WA Planning Commission (WAPC), has now decided to set up a Special Control Area (SCA) around the train station, including King William Street and Whatley Crescent.

This will allow the WAPC to have approval control over all development applications in the SCA and, inevitably, ignore and override Council’s recommendations - recommendations which were based on consultation with the community through the Structure Plan process.

The State Government is vigorously pursuing a policy of concentrating higher housing densities close to train stations.

We don’t have a problem with this. We accept that providing housing for our city’s growing population, close to public transport infrastructure and services, and limiting urban sprawl, is necessary.

What we won’t accept is high density development in Bayswater’s unique and special heritage heart, where no less than two thirds of the 24 shopfronts were built between 1895 and the mid 1950s. The majority of these early buildings are listed as Classification 2 on the Council’s heritage inventory. 

There are nine other precincts in the total Bayswater Structure Plan area (the 400 metre radius from the train station) which are more appropriate for higher density in order for the Government to meet its infill housing targets.

We call on the State Government to recognise that Bayswater’s heritage heart, if conserved and developed sensitively, is an asset, capable of stimulating investment and making the town a vibrant “go to” or tourist destination place. The heritage heart should not be regarded as an obstacle to progress or prime location land for developers to maximise profits.

We call on the Government to:

- Register the King William Street and Whatley Crescent precinct as a State Heritage Area;
- Allow only medium density (3 and 4 storeys) in King William Street and Whatley Crescent; 
- Support the development of heritage sensitive design guidelines for new development in King William Street and Whatley Crescent; and 
- Link these heritage sensitive design guidelines for the town centre’s heritage heart, along with the Council’s Municipal Heritage Inventory, to the City’s town planning scheme, thereby providing statutory status to heritage conservation.