Encouraging the retention of WA’s heritage buildings

RATE reductions may soon be used as an incentive by the City of Perth to encourage developers to maintain local heritage buildings.

The city council last week gave in-principle support to a request from a private developer for a rate reduction after they agreed to keep the historical façade of a 19th century building earmarked for demolition.

The cost of retaining the façade was estimated at the council meeting to be in the vicinity of $300,000.

The building, located on the corner of Queen and Wellington streets, was cut from the city’s Municipal Heritage Inventory but the city council was keen to have the historical façade maintained.

Under plans previously put to the council, the developers had proposed to demolish the entire building to make way for a $1.4 million two-storey development, featuring nine retail outlets and a food outlet.

A basement carpark also was included in the plans.

At the meeting, councillor Tess Stroud praised the developer for their willingness to compromise on the issue and said the council should acknowledge this by giving due consideration to the request for a rate reduction.

“This new plan is the compromise we have been looking for, the buildings are upgraded and the façades are maintained,” Cr Stroud said.

“And hopefully this development will start the ball rolling in that end of town so that King and Queen streets will begin to complement each other.”

The city council is proposing to spend more than $250,000 upgrading Queen

Street in a similar fashion to King Street,

the success and popularity of which

has been attributed by the council to its authentic heritage buildings and streetscape.

Newly-elected councillor Vincent Tan also expressed his support for the project and suggested such incentives should be offered more frequently.

“As much as possible, and where practical, we must come to the party to keep these façades,” Cr Tan said.

“We have to be seen to be encouraging heritage in the city.”

Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass said while he supported the developer’s request, other incentives could, and should, be offered.

“Rate reductions are not the only incentive that can be given, there is a whole range of them, such as bonus plot ratio,” Dr Nattrass said.

“It is time we sat down and worked out just what it is this council is prepared to do to get the result that all of us want.”

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