Beacy high-rise?

• Lauren Paganoni and her kids Tom (footy), Will (scooter) and Josh (trike) worry a large aged-care facility on the ridge above Butterworth Street could spell the end to the quiet in their little corner of the world. Photo by Steve Grant.

FREMANTLE council is poised to rezone the old Portuguese Club site in Beaconsfield to allow the development of an eight to nine-storey aged care facility.

The Portuguese Club has had the site on the market since 2016 and had been struggling to get the price it wanted because developers baulked at keeping a historic homestead which has been absorbed into the clubrooms over the years.

But 77 Belmont Avenue Pty Ltd, owned by Dalkeith resident Khanh Nguyen, has been in negotiations with the club and submitted a rezoning application to bring the site’s density in line with the nearby Beaconsfield quarry.

Although the baseline for the rezoning is a low-density development of a couple of storeys, if 77 Belmont satisfy certain conditions, that suddenly jumps up to a maximum of nine storeys.

Those conditions include a single development application covering the whole site, a minimum of 50 per cent open space, a wider six-metre setback from boundaries nearest to existing homes, and retaining the 1890s homestead.

The home, which is evident from a Victorian-era viewing tower poking up from the roof of the Portuguese club, was owned by pioneering dairy farmer John Healy, who lived there with his wife and 11 children after establishing the vast estate Winterfold in 1870.

77 Belmont has proposed two larger tower blocks on the southern and eastern boundaries of the site, and a smaller building to the north.

A planners report to this week’s strategic planning and transport committee meeting notes that the building will have a big impact on some residents, particularly in the quiet cul de sac Butterworth Place.

Height caps and setbacks were discussed in the report, but it recommended those be hammered out when a development application was submitted.

Only four residents made submissions during the consultation period, most along the lines that the proposal would “get rid of an eyesore”.

However, when the Herald went doorknocking in Butterworth, it found that not a lot was known about the detail of the project. One group of renters said they’d received a flyer, but hadn’t picked up that the development could ultimately reach nine storeys.

Lauren Paganoni lives around the corner in Keady Way and says she’d heard about the potential redevelopment of the site some time ago, but hadn’t heard of any recent changes.

“That would be our direct view from our window,” Ms Paganoni said.

“But our other concern is about the increase of traffic, because this is a very quiet area.”

Ian Moyle says he’s happy they’re providing more accommodation for the elderly, and says as long as they take care of parking and the building’s aesthetics, he’ll be happy.

His only concern is what impact the large towers will have on the neighbourhood’s solar panels.

Fremantle council’s planners have recommended the developer be told to work with the council’s design advisory committee to come up with a “high quality” design.

by STEVE GRANT

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