Claremont residents halt plans to expand Bethesda Hospital

Stock image.
Stock image.

IRATE residents have slowed proposals to expand private Bethesda Hospital in a Claremont riverside precinct that some claim is already overcrowded.

“When was the last straw broken? Probably about 15 years ago with primary school amalgamations, Bethesda’s earlier expansion, Claremont Yacht Club growth and more secondary school traffic,” a Freshwater Parade resident told a packed Claremont Council meeting last night.

Councillors agreed to defer the decision while the hospital’s master plan was reviewed and asked the hospital it to address issues including traffic, building heights, capping consultants’ rooms and parking.

During council consultation since May, 177 individuals’ submissions and two petitions were “overwhelmingly” against the proposals, according to a staff report.

The proposal included changing zoning of a residential lot and removing R25 density from another, increasing beds from 79 to 97 and more parking on land near the hospital at the Swan River end of Freshwater Parade, opposite Christ Church Grammar School.

Concerns from about 40 residents at the meeting included the traffic capacity of Freshwater Parade and linking Victoria Avenue, insufficient hospital parking in the future, removing residential zones, new buildings’ heights, unpoliced pre-dawn vehicle arrivals and more doctors’ consulting rooms.

“The consulting rooms are really frightening as they create a volume of traffic on any given day,” Freshwater Parade resident Joanne Spence said.

Congestion on local streets was allegedly also increased by extra parking at the yacht club, including about 66 bays at nearby Claremont Bowling Club and the expansion of CCGS’s drop-off and pick-up traffic in recent years.

Bethesda chief executive Yasmin Naglazas said the proposed development was “very modest”, the hospital was now looking for off-site solutions and after hearing the residents it would “embrace” a community reference group to work on the plans.