Metronet East Project & Bayswater

MRA proposed map

On the 31st May 2019, the City received notification from the State Minister for Planning and Transport, Rita Saffioti MLA, that she has commenced the process for Bayswater to be incorporated into the Midland Redevelopment Area.

The Midland Redevelopment Area is one of the areas/projects under the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA).

This follows on from a Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) decision on the 27 March 2019 to declare the land, in the below map, a Planning Control Area (PCA). This means that all development applications within this area will be determined by the WAPC and not the City. Similar to DAP’s, my understanding is that the PCA gives no authority to change the rules (Town Planning Scheme & Structure Plan), merely to interpret them and give planning approval/refusal.

The involvement of the MRA now allows the rules to be changed for the land within their map. As the MRA map encompasses all of the PCA area, the PCA will no doubt be withdrawn.

What does this mean?

No one knows yet.  The powers of the MRA can be found within the MRA Act 2011 . Among other things, they can acquire, develop, amalgamate and dispose of land. They can close thoroughfares, compulsorily acquire private land and direct a public authority to transfer land to them.  They can also enter into business arrangements.

Whilst this has probably been in the wind for some time, the MRA themselves will probably require significant time to determine what they are going to do. Guidance can be found from the MRA’s website and what they are doing in Midland.

What do I think?

I suspect the MRA will consolidate a number of blocks; currently it’s all but impossible to build height when the size of the blocks are so small. I also suspect the main focus will be on the pub side rather than the King William Street retail precinct.

The City has 30 days from 31st May to provide comments back to the Minister. I was open, and wanting to discuss, the option of suggesting the MRA area should be bigger. For instance, I see merit in having density around parks and reserves; yet Halliday Park is excluded. As too is Frank Drago Reserve, which I think may offer a potential solution to the inevitable car parking problems. However safeguards that public open space will not be reduced are required.

In addition, whilst no one knows what heights the building will be, we can assume they will be substantial. A gradual decline in height, rather than sheer drop, may be better for properties which fall just outside the MRA map. Whilst there are views ranging from 5 to 15 storeys (and at a guess, I think they will be closer to 5), the West published an article on the 5th June 2019 that one of the State’s leading architects thinks towers of 15 to 30 storeys should be allowed near train stations. Admittedly, he listed Western suburb train stations, but that is probably from an economic limitation rather than any other reason. 

Power to the people.

(Please be aware that these views are my own and have not been endorsed by the City of Bayswater)