EXCLUSIVE: The state agency formerly known as Homeswest is planning to redevelop a notorious estate known to Fremantle locals as ‘The Beacy Bronx’ as a medium-density mix of public and affordable housing that incorporates private home ownership, shops and businesses.
A Housing Authority submission seen by oneperth.com.au asks Fremantle council to consider upping the density of 11 single-house blocks that line South Street down to Bruce Lee Reserve in suburban Beaconsfield.
Each of the Housing Authority blocks is about 700sqm in size. The Housing Authority’s requested R80 zoning would allow between 40 and 60 dwellings to be built on the blocks, which previously carried only 11 detached houses.
But the Housing Authority says the density of public housing in the area “should” decrease under the plan, as public housing is only one of several affordable housing options that will be available.
In 2014, when police raided several Housing Authority properties in the area, after having tipped off Perth’s herd of big media outlets, the media herd reported that some locals knew the area as the ‘Beacy Bronx’.
Other locals know the area as ‘Sun Hill’, a fictional housing estate on the wrong side of the tracks in British cops and robbers show The Bill.
Police claimed to have found a replica gun, silencer, machete, stolen scooter and some drugs during the raids.
Now, the Housing Authority has jumped at the chance to lever off a Fremantle council plan to consolidate housing and business densities along both sides of South Street between York Street and just past Fifth Avenue in Beaconsfield, and Taylor Street to some blocks past Yalgoo Avenue in White Gum Valley.
For readers who know Beaconsfield and White Gum Valley, that’s the area around Zed’s fish and chip shop which was gutted by fire over the Christmas break, as pictured, left.
The council plans to significantly increase housing densities – to R100 in the areas bounded by blue in the pictured diagram, and to R80 in the areas bounded by red. This would allow apartment blocks up to five floors in height where currently the tallest buildings are a handful of two-floor houses.
The council’s rationale is to increase density around three nodes along the South Street transit corridor, which up to the early 1950s had trams, but now has the Circle Route 98/99 and other Transperth buses running along it. The other two planned nodes would be at the corner of Carrington and South streets in Hilton, and Hampton Road and South Street in South Fremantle.
Two of the Housing Authority blocks fall within the red part of the diagram, on the Beaconsfield side of South Street. The Authority’s other nine blocks, bounded by the yellow line, are the ones it wants included in the council’s planned R80 zoning scheme.
“The Authority is currently undertaking a review of its properties with a view to maximising development opportunities,” the Authority has told the council.
“This area is ripe for change and development …
“As a single major landowner the ability to develop at the proposed higher density (R80) would be easily achieved through amalgamation of landholdings and coordinated vehicle access.”
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, RESIDENTIAL
Housing Authority Acting General Manager Commercial Operations, Nigel Hindmarsh, told oneperth.com.au his agency would “endeavour to stimulate diversity of housing supply to support and enable joint public-private development projects”.
“In consultation with the City of Fremantle, [the] Housing [Authority] will work to optimise the regeneration potential of the area; activating the area with a mix of commercial, retail and residential accommodation,” Mr Hindmarsh said.
Rather than include the Housing Authority’s lots in their current proposal, Fremantle’s city planners have recommended the Authority and the council review all state housing in the area at a later date to assess “opportunities for comprehensive redevelopment”.
That recommendation, and another to put the council’s plans out for a third round of public consultation, are slated to be debated tonight by the council’s planning committee.