SUBIACO'S Rokeby Road retail strip could close to traffic for weekend street markets as early as April.
The large-scale project took a significant step forward last week when City of Subiaco councillors voted 10-2 supporting an in-principle market agreement with Subiaco-based Venn Property Group.
Directors Hadley Missell and Evan Briers pitched their plans for about 2km of tent-shaded markets down the centre of Rokeby Road to councillors at a three-hour meeting last month.
Mr Briers said the imminent closure of the Station Street Markets was the catalyst for the council to see their proposal as a viable and logical alternative.
‘Our next step is to spend two months on detailed planning, talking to prospective tenants and retailers and communicating with the community,’ he said,
‘We want to go back to council in two months to get a firm, long-term contract before Christmas.’
Mr Missell said the owners of well-known businesses, including the Subiaco Hotel, Dallimores Homeware, Subiaco 7 Day Chemist, Dome, Chutney Mary’s, Ace Cinema and Brew-Ha cafe, had already expressed their support.
‘The visitor numbers are up to 25,000 people a weekend, so if we can bring that sort of mass to the heart of Subiaco, it will no doubt help the struggling retailers,’ he said.
Mr Briers said they were looking for artisan-style operators, local designers, artists, gourmet and fresh food stallholders.
‘These markets would be very achievable and it happens all around the globe, like La Rambla in Barcelona and Hobart’s Salamanca Market,’ he said.
‘The town will have a heart that is bursting with life.’
Friendlies Chemist Subiaco owner and councillor Murray Rowe said he wholeheartedly supported the project, which could ‘assure economic and social benefits’ to the high street.
Although he voted in favour, Cr Scott Arbuckle said there were many risks to the proposal.
‘A lot more information is required in terms of losing control of the main street for up to 15 years,’ Cr Arbuckle said.
‘We need to put a lot of effort into the exit terminations of the contract as it may not work for the City or the Venn Property Group,’ Cr Garry Trinder said.