19/08/2014 - 13:38

Claremont Showground set for major revamp

19/08/2014 - 13:38

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Claremont Showground set for major revamp

The Royal Agricultural Society has unveiled concept plans for a major redevelopment of Claremont Showground, flagging residential development, commercial office space, extensive car parking, and a market square, as well as upgrades of the main arena, pavilions and exhibition space.

The concept plan, which was initiated around three years ago, has separated the showgrounds site into distinct precincts.

Architecture firm Hames Sharley was appointed in October last year to oversee detailed design and use options for different aspects of the site.

The precincts closest to the Fremantle railway line have been earmarked for residential and commercial development, while the market square has been flagged to be established on the south-western edge of the showgrounds.

The plan also includes a new grandstand, an undercover verandah overlooking the main arena, a year-round agricultural education hub, and the potential of a living farm-gate entry statement.

The first precinct the RAS is considering for residential development, including the possibility of a short-stay apartment hotel, is the 4,500 square metre Ashton Triangle, located adjacent to the railway line at the north-eastern corner of the site.

“The Ashton Triangle is a piece of land that sits outside the Showgrounds, and currently we use it for overflow parking,” RAS chief executive Peter Cooper said.

“We see that has the potential for some form of residential development.”

Mr Cooper said the concept plan would provide guidance for any potential redevelopment of the showgrounds.

“It gives us clear direction of what buildings to keep in service, and those that we need to remove from service,” he said.

“When you look at the assets and the infrastructure, this site has been here since 1905, so you’re looking at 110 years of development.

“This is an opportunity where we look at all the development that has happened over the last 110 years and we put in place infrastructure and assets that can better service the community.”

RAS president Rob Wilson said the only part of the site that the society would consider selling was the Ashton Triangle, while the rest of the showgrounds would be retained for RAS use, including the Perth Royal Show and more than 250 other community, cultural, sporting and corporate events annually.

“The council has been quite emphatic for many, many years that we wouldn’t be selling part of the main site to help fund this proposal,” he said.

“It’s a great community asset, one of the very few fairgrounds close to the CBD, they’ve all been moved out, so it’s a wonderful asset we would like to keep.

“It’s been enjoyed by many generations over the years, and obviously one of the things we’d look at is for many generations to continue coming here and enjoy the show, and other activities we can provide.’’

Part of the plan will also include a realignment of the Bruce Campbell Arena, to bring spectators closer to the main exhibitions space.

Mr Wilson said the concept plan was a 15 to 20-year proposition, still in its fledgling stages.

The RAS will consult with community stakeholders, the state government, as well as industry over the next eight to 12 months to formulate the next stage of the plan, as well as determine the best funding model going forward.

“At this stage it is just a concept plan,” Mr Wilson said.

“The next part of the process is to start with intense and more detailed master planning, and in that process we will look at various funding models as we do it on a stage-by-stage basis.

“It’s far too big to do this in one hit, and this could take us 15 years, but hopefully our first stage will be done with in the first five years.

“It’s through the master plan process we can look at various funding opportunities.”

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