A new structure plan proposed by the private developer, Pindan, is currently being advertised by the City of Bayswater for public feedback and submissions. The proposed structure plan details high densification of the Meltham Station Precinct and its surrounding areas. The final decision lies in the hands of the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC). The development suggests an increased mixed use density through a 6-storey (potentially 8) development lining both sides of the station gradually decreasing down to 2-storeys in surrounding areas. The proposed 6-storey development is planned to stretch over three to four street blocks each side of the station providing up to 2,595 dwellings in the currently zoned 1-storey or 2-storey area. The intensity of development is sparking outrage from residents.
The Meltham area along Railway Parade and East Parade is tired and in need of redevelopment. The precinct is directly linked to Perth Station via a 10-minute train ride, to the Maylands cafe strip via a 1-minute train ride and is 400m from a large reserve. This area is well connected and has a great urban potential for regeneration. Just over a kilometre away is a 10-storey development opposite Maylands Train Station recently built by Finbar, which can be seen from Meltham Station. Although the area is screaming for redevelopment, residents fear that the scale of this development could serve as a precedent to Meltham’s future.
The structure plan was completed by Planning Solutions and engaged by Bayswater JV (a private enterprise that owns four lots of land within the precinct) with Pindan, a private developer. WAPC has extended the feedback period after an overwhelming response from local residents. Bayswater residents are suspecting the project could bring 5000+ dwellers to the area. An online petition set up by residents explores their concern regarding the “burden” of thousands of new residents on the roads, traffic, water supply and sewerage. They touch on the threat of increased crime and decreased land value from an extra 5000 residents in a 6-block development. The petition also proposes the concept of spreading the dwellings over a larger area along the railway providing development potential and increased land value to more landowners. This approach could potentially benefit local residents rather than a smaller pool of landowners. As well as the petition, which is very active, there has been an ongoing record attendance at council meetings, a Facebook page and an email list setup urging landowners to submit their feedback to the City of Bayswater.
This structure plan has manifested independently of the City of Bayswater. The regulations regarding private developers commissioning their own structure plans changed back in October of 2015. The changes to the regulations coincided with the new local government being formed. Obviously, this is a very busy time for councillors and administration staff. Therefore, it avoided direct attention at the time. Councillor Dan Bull of the City of Bayswater believes this change in regulation is handing power from local government and local residents to private developers and the WAPC. He goes on to add that the local government is concerned for ratepayers and private developers for their shareholders whose interests do not lie in the community of Bayswater. Interestingly, the WAPC are a non-elected state government decisions making body. This decision-making structure ultimately affects the process of place making, regeneration and densification in local suburbs.
It is unheard for a landowner to have the power to change the land use in the City of Bayswater. This battle seems to be less about the intensity of regeneration rather more about the structure of power as a result of the newly defined regulations allowing developers to manipulate the planning of a suburb.