Government says time is here to sell deaf school

The deaf school site is close to trains and the beach in Cottelsoe.  Picture Andrew Ritchie.
The deaf school site is close to trains and the beach in Cottelsoe. Picture Andrew Ritchie.

THE State Government is having its own go at selling Cottesloe’s heritage WA Institute for Deaf Education after former premier Colin Barnett failed when he put out his shingle on the Curtin Avenue property four years ago.

“This iconic landmark is an integral part of the streetscape in Cottesloe and the community deserves to see this site brought to its full potential,” Acting-and Minister Bill Johnston said, announcing the sale last week.

The grounds, heritage-listed school and its buildings built between 1896 and 1949 comprise 19,941m2 zoned residential by Cottesloe Council.

The West Australian Foundation for Deaf Children still operates at the site, which has views of the Indian Ocean and Monument Hill in Mosman Park.

Previous planning has identified a residential node for commuters because of the 150m walk across the avenue to Victoria Street train station, and the site is an urban precinct in the Perth and Peel@3.5million strategic plan.

Mr Johnston said buyers would have to reuse and protect the red-brick school and accommodate the foundation on-site or elsewhere.

In 2014, Mr Barnett included the school as part of an estimated $250 million sale of assets to help pay his government’s burgeoning State debt.

A Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage spokesman said it was only now that the school was placed on the market, and the reason the decision was made was to “discover what options for the site the property industry may have”.

Asked if Curtin Avenue crossings would be improved, the spokesman said the sale was independent of plans for Victoria Street station.

A Cottesloe Council spokeswoman said the development’s scope and its heights would be subject a structure plan, or its equivalent, that would identify suitable dwelling types, sizes and densities to take advantage of close public transport routes and keeping the heritage school.

Registrations if interest are at until August 30.