DESPITE some heights being dropped after consultation, Fremantle council’s proposed transformation of Beaconsfield still hasn’t completely won the hearts of all the suburb’s residents.
The council formally adopted the Heart of Beaconsfield masterplan last month, with 48 hectares between South Street and Clontarf Road to be a mix of housing up to 12 storeys, a new sporting oval in the old Lefroy Road quarry, natural bushland and a community facility.
The possible introduction of housing along the steep western embankment of the quarry has residents along Longford Road concerned it could lead to cracking or even worse in their own homes.
Longford Road resident Stephan Hayes said the last iteration of the plan he saw was four years ago, and he was surprised to see housing was now being considered on the incline that drops from his back fence to the quarry floor, though the plan does say it needs more “investigation”.
“There’ll be structural issues for sure,” Mr Hayes said.
“I think it’s a really, really, really stupid idea.
“It’s pretty bad.”
While some heights have been reduced in the quarry and TAFE site on Lefroy Road, down in Butterworth Place resident Kelly was surprised to discover she’ll end up with 8-12 storey buildings looming over the back of her two-storey home, and her neighbours.
She said the proposal was different to what she had previously seen and was unhappy with the sudden jump from two to eight storeys.
“After seeing that [new masterplan], no, it needs to be graduated,” she said.
Kelly was concerned the height would affect the amenity of existing residents and devalue their properties, as it would block out the winter sun, reducing the effectiveness of her own solar passive system.
Fremantle councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge said building heights weren’t final, but a guide to what could eventually be built there, with a range of options still to be explored.
“It doesn’t give approval for the specific type of apartment,” Cr Fitzhardinge said.
“We’re feeling pretty good and are working well with the state government departments that are involved.
“We believe it balances the community’s needs but provides the opportunity for others to live in Freo.”
During consultation residents also raised concerns about increased social housing and a desire to avoid recreating existing and past social issues around the TAFE site and Davis Park.
“Currently there is an approximately 90 per cent ratio of public housing located around Davis Park,” Cr Fitzhardinge said, adding the masterplan was an opportunity to increase public housing but at a lower ratio to private residences.
“We also desperately want a safe crossing on South Street,” she said.
“We will keep fighting for a signalled intersection.”
Some residents were concerned about how the new masterplan would impact the established community.
Eighteen-year-old renter Jack said new housing was inevitable, but he wasn’t certain the Heart of Beaconsfield delivered the best outcome for the suburb.
“I’m not opposed to living in a high rise,” Jack said.
“Not too sure it belongs in Beaconsfield though.
“Eight to 12 stories wouldn’t fit the vibe.”
The plan would also see Bruce Lee Oval shrink slightly in size, but deputy mayor Andrew Sullivan said it locked in the Fremantle Farmers Markets as an important community event.
“While the final masterplan doesn’t set any hard and fast rules about future development, it does provide an important insight to landowners in the area as to what the council and community would like to see happen and what would be considered acceptable,” Cr Sullivan said.
“The final masterplan includes the expansion of public open space, better pedestrian and bike connections using strategic green links,
the retention of important community facilities and a more diverse housing mix.