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Council pushes for a return to halcyon days

WEST Perth will return to its former residential glory if the Perth City Council has any say in the matter.

Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass said that thirty or forty years ago West Perth was one of the prime residential areas of Perth.

“Then the City of Perth scheme changed and encouraged commercial uses into West Perth,” Dr Nattrass said.

“That helped turn West Perth into the city’s second CBD.”

Also at that time the attraction of quarter acre blocks and expansion of suburban living conspired to draw people away from the city.

A recent Chesterton International property market summary found West Perth’s location just one kilometre from the CBD fringe made it attractive to both office tenants and investors.

Dr Nattrass said the PCC became concerned about the lack of residents in West Perth ten years ago.

“We offered bonus plot ratio

concessions for developers putting in mixed use but that failed.”

However, in the past two years residential uses have returned to West Perth with a vengeance.

“There has been an incredible increase in residents returning to the city but little commercial development,” Dr Nattrass said. “I cannot believe the amount of residential going into West Perth.”

At the PCC’s 28 September meeting it approved a thirteen-apartment development for 49 Colin Street, West Perth.

However, a Royal Australian Institute of Architects-organised charette held in April suggested that West Perth’s residential days may be best left in the past.

One of the charette’s key proposals was to make East Perth the CBD’s prime residential area.

Those taking part in the charette believed West Perth would serve better as a centre for further commercial development.

However, Dr Nattrass is adamant West Perth would serve the city better as a mixed use centre.

“I would love to see West Perth develop along village lines, just as some of the centres of the major cities of the world have done.”

The PCC has been keen to encourage inner city living. In addition to the West Perth plot ratio bonuses it is also offering a three year residential rate holiday.

It has cut planning application fees by 50 per cent for people considering an inner city residential development. Those fees are cut in half again if the development comes to fruition.

Dr Nattrass said the PCC was trying to make the city a more attractive and secure place for residents.

“We are replacing concrete with greenery, coordinating street furniture and encouraging street theatre and alfresco dining,” he said.

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