Tunnel land delays concern

THE release of design guidelines for the Northbridge Urban Renewal has been called for by Vincent Mayor John Hyde.

Planning Minister Graham Kierath unveiled the master plan for the 27 hectares of land above and adjacent to the Graham Farmer Freeway Tunnel last month.

However, no design guidelines have been released and no land is for sale.

Mr Hyde said he had expected land sales to start in February. He feels the plan’s announcement does not progress anything.

“Developers should be able to go to the counter at East Perth Redevelopment Authority and start getting design guidelines and buying blocks,” Mr Hyde said.

“The sooner we get more residents and businesses into Northbridge, the sooner we all benefit.”

The EPRA took 18 months to create the master plan. Design guidelines are to be released early next year to coincide with the sale of the old cottages on Aberdeen Street.

Mr Hyde is concerned Newcastle Street will become laden with traffic due to a proposal to turn Aberdeen Street into a more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly street.

He said public open space was insufficient in the renewal area and the inclusion of Russell Square gave a false impression because it was not part of the redevelopment.

Mr Kierath said the plan’s main feature was the creation of individual heritage and cultural precincts that would preserve the area’s unique history.

This includes the creation of new public open spaces, including the completed Piazza Nanni, a new public space in Lake Street, a new park in Aberdeen Street opposite the TAFE, and the “greening” of streets traversing the project area.

Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass, a long-time campaigner for more public open space in Northbridge, said he was satisfied with the amount allowed within the plan.

“I believe it will be a great impetus for Northbridge,” Dr Nattrass said.

“It is the icing on the cake of what has been a hugely successful project – the Graham Farmer Freeway tunnel.”

Dr Nattrass said he was happy with the inclusion of 550 to 600-bay public car park and another with 40 to 50 bays.

Temporary parking will be provided during construction and additional measures for off-street parking will be considered during the design process.

“I’m happy with the retention of some of the heritage houses. I think it’s a great project overall,” Dr Nattrass said.

Liberal candidate for the State seat of Perth Peter Boyle said the redevelopment would help reduce anti-social problems such as graffiti and vandalism.

It will cost the WA Government about $60 million to develop and buy the land from Main Roads WA and the WA Planning Commission.

It expects to gain $68 million from the redevelopment.

Mr Kierath said the master plan for “Northbridge The Project” would transform under-utilised land into a cosmopolitan community incorporating new housing, shopping and entertainment areas and mixed land use.

“I believe the plan will become a benchmark for future urban developments throughout Australia,” he said.

Mr Kierath said work would start immediately at Aberdeen Street, and continue in planned stages over four years.

Once the EPRA has completed the redevelopment, the Northbridge land will be handed back to the Perth and Vincent councils.

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