A UNIVERSITY of WA urban planning lecturer says the proposed Bassendean activity centre concept plans are “ridiculous” and “out of character”.
The proposal included an eight-storey building behind the heritage gates at Bassendean Oval and apartment blocks at Wilson Street and BIC Reserve.
Lecturer Linley Lutton was approached by Bassendean resident Graeme King who said he wanted a professional opinion on the proposal because he felt “distressed” about the plans.
Dr Lutton said he wrote the report to assist the community understand the implications of Town of Bassendean and developer LandCorp’s plans to “put fact and objectivity into an otherwise emotional argument”.
He said the town centre had a “delightful village” character with low-rise buildings and open space.
“It is very typical of the sort of developments that you get occurring in Australian capital cities and Bassendean Town Centre in particular has a very delightful village character,” he said.
“Anyone can accept the argument that you can infill certain areas like in the Bassendean town centre but when you propose buildings of that scale and … density, it is just so out of character with the existing town centre.”
Dr Lutton said some infill developments could be achieved despite issues with overshadowing and the designs.
“There is certainly the opportunity to infill around Bassendean Oval probably two to three storeys and I will fully support that.
“The Wilson Street site could also have some development on it but to a smaller size… this desire to create some sort of little active hub on the site is completely isolated and I cannot see what would make it work.”
Dr Lutton said developers and the Town of Bassendean should not push for high-rise developments because it defeated the purpose of trying to activate the town.
LandCorp chief executive Frank Marra said he welcomed Dr Lutton’s feedback.
However, he said LandCorp had worked with urban planners to achieve the community’s vision in the designs.
Town of Bassendean Mayor John Gangell said: “The current concept plans will be presented to council in September.
“However, if council agrees to continue to the statutory planning process, changes will be possible, as long as the project remains feasible.”