19/03/2008 - 22:00

Review targets 30-year plan

19/03/2008 - 22:00

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The Town of Cambridge will become the latest western suburbs council to propose high-density residential development close to a main commercial strip, as it prepares a review of its town planning scheme intended to revitalise Cambridge Street.

The Town of Cambridge will become the latest western suburbs council to propose high-density residential development close to a main commercial strip, as it prepares a review of its town planning scheme intended to revitalise Cambridge Street.

By the mayor’s own reckoning, the street is “daggy” and a few decades overdue for some major redevelopment, both commercial and residential.

Over the next 30 years, the town estimates an extra 3,000 to 4,000 dwellings will be needed, above its current capacity of 10,000 dwellings.

“That target may be over 30 years, but we need to draw a line in the sand now, because it will affect development in the near future,” Town of Cambridge Mayor Simon Withers said.

“Some people have been saying there’s no requirement for infill – that it’s not mandatory – but that’s not to say it won’t be down the track.

Basically, we need to have density all down Cambridge Street.” There are three elements to the overall planning review, the first of which will be a strategic plan for Rosslyn Street, off Railway Parade near West Leederville.

A pilot study of the area, which is already zoned commercial, is currently being undertaken after a development application for a new four storey building was lodged with the council.

The Subiaco Oval redevelopment is also expected to attract new development to the area.

“We kicked off our review before the decision was made to locate the new stadium at Kitchener Park, so now we’re thinking of a bigger plan for the whole Subiaco area,” Mr Withers said.

The council’s long-term priority is Cambridge Street, although recent community backlash over plans for similar high-density development in Nedlands has provided some food for thought.

“I’m concerned there will be resistance to (plans for high density), but you can’t have modern buildings without development,” Mr Withers said.

“People want restaurants, wine bars and shops, and you can’t have these things in walking distance without more density, otherwise people will have to go to Leederville.” One element of the City of Nedlands’ draft plans which has attracted strong criticism is a rezoning of the Warratah Avenue area to allow more high-density housing.

Other sites along Stirling Highway, around the Windsor Cinema and the Captain Stirling shopping centre, have been tentatively marked out for development.

In both cases, residential blocks adjacent to the main commercial strip would be rezoned.

“One issue we have is that some of the blocks are not very deep, so the question is whether we provide for shallow buildings or develop back from Cambridge Street.

That will be controversial and will depend on the shape of individual blocks,” Mr Withers said.

“But as far as I’m concerned, the buildings along the front of Cambridge Street are definitely in (for redevelopment).” Mr Withers said local government was entering a new phase in which it would play a more significant role in town planning.

“For 50 years there was no change in local government, but over the next five to 10 years there will be some intensive change,” he said.

“Local government has to look 10, 20, 30 years ahead to tell people what kind of environment they’ll be living in, and that’s never been the case before.” According to the government’s Network City strategy, about 366,000 extra dwellings will be needed by 2031.

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