Bronx’s end nears

DENSITY in the “Beacy Bronx” would be tripled, but public housing scaled back to about 10 per cent under a plan being pushed by WA’s housing department.

The area in Beaconsfield — bounded by South Street, Fifth Avenue, Lefroy Road and Caesar Street — has around 83 per cent public housing and is infamous for its anti-social behaviour and crime.

Housing has asked Fremantle council to reclassify it as a development zone, paving the way for the Bronx to be demolished and redeveloped into a mix of high- and medium-density dwellings. The department says this mix will give it scope to improve housing affordability and diversity.

While staff told this week’s Fremantle’s planning committee that specific development outcomes are yet to be decided, a report by town planners Urbis included traffic modelling based on 676 homes (up from 220) and 7500sqm of retail/commercial floorspace.

Urbis’s report found this would increase traffic in the area by 5620 vehicles a day (currently 2260), requiring either traffic lights or a roundabout on South Street and right-turn lanes into the development site.

Public transport

“The HA considers that redevelopment in this location could capitalise on the area’s proximity to South Street, which is a strategically important public transport corridor, and the local centre adjoining the north-east corner of the area,” staff wrote.

Beaconsfield ward councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge says she supports the government’s proposal as long as it complements the city’s “Beaconsfield West” masterplan.

“It should integrate with our wider masterplan, which includes surrounding land parcels like Bruce Lee Reserve, The TAFE site, South Fremantle High School and the Lefroy Road Quarry area.”

“We have great assets in Davis Park and the Fremantle Early Learning Centre at the site and want to make sure they are given full consideration in any future redevelopment.”

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettit says the scheme amendment and the masterplan combined would make it Freo’s largest development site, far outstripping the Knutsford Street precinct.

Dr Pettitt said that would boost its credentials as a major transport corridor, prompting the council to appeal to the WA planning commission to reconsider plans for a light rail system down South Street to Murdoch University sooner rather than later.

The plan, lodged by planning consultants Urbis, was supported unanimously by Fremantle council’s planning committee on Wednesday and will come before full council at the end of the month.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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