Lane revamp

THE laneways of Perth City are set to be opened up and transformed into contemporary and vibrant retail precincts under a proposal by the Perth City Council.

Using $800,000 in funding available under the Federal Government’s Road to Recovery program, the city council wants to develop Wolfe Lane and line it with retail outlets and cafes.

Wolfe Lane runs between Murray and King Streets and also gives access to Wesley Arcade, which opens on to Hay Street.

At present, while the lane is used by some pedestrians, it is primarily used for private off-street parking and as a service route.

Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass said he saw the redevelopment of Wolfe Lane as an opportunity for the city council to do something different.

“In essence, the Federal Government has made about $200,000 available to councils each year for four years and this funding can be used for a number of projects,” Dr Nattrass said.

“I see this as an opportunity for the council to do something special rather than sinking it into bituminising other streets in Perth.”

The concept has won the support of Retail Traders Association manager Brian Reynolds who said the idea had been extremely successful overseas.

“In the UK there is an area called The Lanes, which is a series of very small and very old laneways in the centre of Brighton which house small specialty stores, such as antique stores, interspersed with hospitality outlets,” Mr Brighton said.

“It has a wonderful, vibrant atmosphere and is very popular.”

Wolfe Lane is held by the city council and is considered to be the only laneway within the central business district with sufficient width and proximity to other retail activity to make the proposal feasible.

It serves the rear of the Holiday Inn, Arcade 800 and several Hay Street heritage properties along with older Murray and King Street warehouses now converted into retail outlets and cafes.

Cr Laurence Goodman said if the proposal went ahead it would give some retailers the opportunity to create another entrance at the rear of their stores.

“It creates an opportunity for retailers to become interested in the project and support it by spending money on second entrances,” Cr Goodman said.

The only concern raised was by Mr Reynolds who said laneway security and pedestrian safety had to be given the highest priority.

“But otherwise it is a good idea that will further create a point of difference between the city and will create a niche market in the face of competition from suburban shopping centres,” he said

Over the next year the city council will spend $40,000 investigating the proposal and developing a consultancy brief for an architect to prepare a project masterplan.

A meeting of stakeholders will be held once this is complete to explain the proposal and address any issues

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