26/03/2008 - 22:00

Draft strategy for Margaret River

26/03/2008 - 22:00

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Development in Margaret River over the next 20 years should be contained in small hamlet-style nodes, rather than large residential estates, according to the shire’s townsite strategy, which was released for public comment last week.

  Draft strategy for Margaret River

Development in Margaret River over the next 20 years should be contained in small hamlet-style nodes, rather than large residential estates, according to the shire’s townsite strategy, which was released for public comment last week.

The draft strategy provides a blueprint for development to 2026, mainly east and south of the town, to accommodate a population up to three times the size of its current level (about 4,400).

One of the key features of the strategy is a bypass road, connecting with Bussell Highway at both ends, which would begin before the town entrance and end below the current area of development.

The plans also suggest allowing three-storey development, up to 11 metres in height, along the main street, to be zoned for ground floor retail and commercial use, with residential and office space above.

Shire of Augusta-Margaret River chief executive officer James Trail said the strategy contained a longterm vision for the character of development in the town.

“The most significant thing for the shire is that it puts a context to what we’ve been striving for over a long period, and that is a perimeter road to go around the town to free up the main street,” he said.

“The issue we have is that, until we get a bypass road from Bussell Highway, we can’t get ownership of the (main street) from the state government.” Mr Trail said the guidelines for development would avoid residential sprawl.

“We’re not looking at a traditional extension of the urban area, or a normal subdivision, but something like a hamlet design, with nodes of higher density leading into bigger lots, and public open space separating one subdivision from another,” he said.

“Each settlement would be 500 metres to one kilometre apart, with a distinct green belt in between, and linkages to make it fit in better with the character of Margaret River.” Mr Trail said the scheme would help to control development in future.

“The idea of the strategy is that you don’t have different companies buying tracts of land with the expectation that they’ll be able to develop a 500-lot subdivision, which is certainly not what the community wants,” he said.

“We want to get a balance going forward, so we don’t end up with something like a Provence or Ambergate [in Busselton].” The strategy refers to East Margaret River, which would be consistent with the existing low-density housing in the area.

Another region, West Margaret River, would be “semi-urban”, with buffer zones between housing and vineyards.

The strategy states that residential development is to be encouraged in the town centre to create vibrancy.

According to population estimates used by the shire, the Augusta- Margaret River area will have between 16,600 and 27,500 residents by 2026.

Margaret River is expected to have between 7,000 and 13,000 residents.

Most of this increase is expected to come from retirees, people buying second and holiday homes, and labour demand from tourism.

If the strategy is adopted by council, the document will be submitted to the WA Planning Commission.

Public submissions on the planning strategy will close in May.

 

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