PLANS to demolish the maternity wing of Woodside Hospital to make way for an aged care facility is “basically cancelling women’s history” says a nearby resident.
Hall & Prior Health and Aged Care Group has submitted plans for the 160-bed Woodside Care Precinct in East Fremantle to the powerful Special Development Assessment Unit, including a cafe, wellness centre and two independent living dwellings for residents and a carer.
The plans have been modified to set back second-level rooms and remove balconies which neighbours complained would annihilate their backyard privacy, but Dalgety Street resident Joanne Taggart says it amounted to “minor” tinkering.
“Most of our concerns were about the height, bulk and scale, and that remains,” Ms Taggart said.
But she’s also unhappy with the amount of demolition of the heritage site – about 60 per cent of the outbuildings, including the former maternity wing.
“It’s where 50,000 babies were born,” Ms Taggart told the Herald.
The main building, the former home of businessman William Dalgety Moore, will also have it’s internal walls removed to make way for the independent living homes, which Ms Taggart says is a poor way to treat such an important part of the state’s history.
A heritage report noted that a conservation plan for the site had noted the importance of the maternity wing, but says the WA Heritage Council had offered its support for the demolition, partly on the basis that the restoration of Woodside House would be an acceptable compromise.
“The conservation plan was reviewed as part of the planning and design process and a number of collaborative interactions took place with the Heritage Council, State Design Review Panel and the Town of East Fremantle, all of whom were supportive of the approach taken and the conservation outcomes,” the report noted.
The new plans are available on the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage consultation website, consultation.dplh.wa.gov.au, with submissions closing on August 18.
The special assessment unit was established under former premier Mark McGowan to decide on developments deemed to be of state significance.
by STEVE GRANT