Hopes for South Perth train station revived in transit-oriented plan

A design and planning report commissioned by, and produced in association with, the City of South Perth hopes to foster transit-led development on the South Perth Peninsula, which is expected to accommodate large numbers of future residents as the population of Perth grows to a projected 3.5 million by 2050.

The South Perth Peninsula Place and Design Report was assembled by Roberts Day (place, urban design and planning), with input from Donaldson and Warn (architecture), EPCAD (landscape architecture), Colliers International (economics) and GTA Consultants (engineering and traffic).

Organized into a series of “goals” and “ideas,” the report recommends a renewed push to develop a train station at South Perth.

The WA state government stated its commitment to construct a train station at South Perth in 2002 when the Perth to Mandurah railway line was first proposed. However, early construction of the station was “not justified” and the station was never built. The City of South Perth commissioned the South Perth Station Precinct Plan in order to support a business case for the station. In 2011 the City of South Perth adopted the plan, which outlined a path to securing the development of both a train station and the area surrounding it.

“However, despite this plan being adopted and a significant level of development being approved, funding and planning for the station has not been forthcoming,” the report states.

“Whilst it is important to acknowledge that the station is just one component of the Peninsula’s transport network, securing a firm timeframe and funding model is critical to ensuring that the Peninsula develops as a transit-oriented precinct.”

The WA government’s Transport @ 3.5 million plan, released in 2016 and updated in February 2017, made no mention of a South Perth Station.

The council now hopes it could again lobby state and federal governments to fund a station by conducting “a detailed planning, design and costing exercise to explore opportunities to fund delivery of the train station.”

It has produced a concept proposal that includes “a raised platform above the freeway reserve, on which a publicly accessible deck and two buildings are situated. It is proposed that the South Perth Train Station would be incorporated as part of this development and constructed by the proponent of the development.”

The South Perth peninsula.

The South Perth peninsula.

Image: City of South Perth / Roberts Day

Elsewhere, the report outlines a number of urban planning ideas, including the way the council should manage the height of new buildings as population density on the peninsula increases.

Previous attempts to construct tall buildings on the peninsula have been controversial. While initially approved by the City of South Perth, a proposal by developer Edge Visionary Living for a 44-storey mixed-use tower, designed by Hillam Architects, was struck down by Western Australia’s Supreme Court in March 2016.

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The court took issue with the proposal being largely residential, despite the council’s own planning controls calling for new projects to be mostly non-residential.

The report argues that the 2011 South Perth Station Precinct Plan is “outdated” in the limits it sought to place on building heights (14 to 41 metres). The report proposes instead to permit buildings with further height above discretionary height limit to parts of the area around Richardson Park, Labouchere Road, areas framing City Square and the southern side of Mends Street. These buildings would only be permitted if the proponents of the development could demonstrate “exceptional public benefit in excess of standard criteria.”

The City of South Perth will consider a proposal to change planning permissions to allow the development of two towers on an 8,206-square-metre site within the South Perth Station Precinct. The changes would allow for one taller tower with a maximum height of 96 metres and one smaller tower with a maximum height of 83 metres.

In a statement, the council said the height limits were “consistent with the recommendations in the South Perth Peninsula Place and Design Report.”

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