23/04/2008 - 22:00

City's departure from original advice

23/04/2008 - 22:00

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Building heights, view corridors and the placement of buildings were the key issues raised by the City of Perth’s planning committee in its report to council on the foreshore development.

City's departure from original advice

Building heights, view corridors and the placement of buildings were the key issues raised by the City of Perth’s planning committee in its report to council on the foreshore development.

The most substantial changes made by the committee to the planning department’s initial report related to the Esplanade Reserve and Barrack Square.

While the original recommendation was to support development on Esplanade Reserve, provided there was recognition of the heritage values of the area, the planning committee said only part of the land should be reclaimed, with most to be used for public open parkland.

It also said the landmark building to be built on Barrack Square – likened to the ‘gherkin’ building in London’s financial district by councillor Rob Butler – was ‘excessively large’ and would dominate river views from the city.

It said there was a risk the building would diminish the presence of the bell tower on the centreline of Barrack Street.

This was a major departure from the planning department’s recommendation to support the building.

With regard to building height and location, the committee inserted two new clauses of its own.

Firstly, it stated that St Georges Terrace and Adelaide Terrace should be acknowledged as the ‘historic, current and future location’ of the city’s tallest buildings.

It also said tall buildings on the north-east and south-east corners of the development site would create unacceptable overshadowing.

Councillor Judy McEvoy said the committee did not want to stop the foreshore development but felt the height of some of the buildings was too large.

“We’re concerned about the larger-type buildings and we’ve had a lot of people contact us with similar concerns,” she said.

While the original report said a view shed analysis of views to and from Kings Park and the Swan River should be undertaken, the clause was strengthened in the planning committee’s version, which said the analysis should not be compromised by buildings in the plan.

The committee also said view corridors from Howard Street to the Esplanade Reserve, and Sherwood Court to the river should be maintained, which would require buildings on the reserve to be set back to the east and west.

The report offered several suggestions around traffic planning, stating that the Mitchell Freeway on-ramp and Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre service roads should be maintained.

Two-way traffic in William Street would also need to be supported by adequate width and Riverside Drive should be lowered between Governors Avenue and the freeway.

William and Barrack streets should be lowered to connect the city to the river.

One of the key features of the design – a lake surrounded by a walkway bridge – was turned down in its current form, with the committee stating that it should be a separate water body to the Swan River, with its own environmental management criteria.

It said a full geotechnical and environmental assessment of the project area needed to be undertaken.

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