Sites need more than a Metronet station

New building categories suitable for Metronet station precincts need to be identified, according to a Property Council of Australia WA report. Picture: Property Council of Australia WA

JUST because a site will have a Metronet train station does not mean it will be development ready and there needs to be a shift in the conversation on the way car parking is provided in station precincts, says a Property Council of Australia WA report.

The report released on Friday, May 25 also calls on the state government to include all station precincts, not just the new lines and extensions such as the Butler to Yanchep line to ensure the project delivers the housing diversity and infill targets in Perth’s strategic growth plans.

Five key recommendations are contained in the report, which said a range of different factors needed to be in place for a transformational project to occur.

“The responsibility for these falls across both the private and public sectors,’’ the report said.

“If Metronet station precincts are to be truly realised, it will require buy in from both the public and private sector.

“The public sector has a responsibility to smooth the regulatory and land assembly pathway.

“This may be achieved by ensuring that height regulations are suitable for the scale of development expected, or that the planning framework is in place to enable quick determinations on projects that meet the Metronet targets.’’

The public sector would also need to ensure that infrastructure and commitment to future upgrades are in place and co-ordinated.

“Government land holdings may be consolidated and released as large parcels, to ensure the best return to government and the most ease of development.’’

The report said private industry would need to commit to investing in the built and public realm to ensure that the site created a destination.  “Engagement with the development of built form design guidelines and public realm guidelines will be critical.

“New building typologies that are suitable for Metronet station precincts need to be explored and there needs to be a shift in the conversation on the way car parking is provided in these highly connected hubs.

“The usual development process and all of the challenges that come with that will still apply but by working together, some of the early hurdles may be eliminated and the opportunity for a transformational development may be realised.’’

Property Council of Australia WA executive director Lino Iacomella said Metronet offered an opportunity to transform Perth and deliver infill and housing diversity in an orderly manner and in a form the community would accept.

The five key recommendations include extending the scope for Metronet precincts to the existing network and identifying some key short-term development opportunities.

Supporting the creation of a new precinct planning governance framework where the local political landscape is preventing project delivery.

Developing a framework for transitional uses where land values at station precincts do not support the ultimate development at day one.

This may include methodologies for affordable housing, build to rent, leasehold, light weight construction.

Another recommendation was for a demonstration project on how suburban station precincts could be transformed.

The fifth recommendation was to develop partnerships with the private sector for the provision of infrastructure, amenity, mixed use, residential and employment opportunities.

Mr Iacomella  said the report included case studies of local and interstate station precinct developments.

He said the report found those areas which offered the most potential for density were often the most resistant to change and also identified inconsistent local planning rules as a major threat to Metronet.

“We are calling for a new state government led precinct planning system to provide the community and industry with a fair and consistent process for managing the local planning process.

“The recent announcement by the state government to partner with local industry, through the Metronet social and affordable housing and jobs package in selected locations, is a good example of the partnership approach to delivering the project’s objectives recommended in the report.

“The promised Perth City Deal is the key to bringing most of the key elements of Metronet together, including the work of Infrastructure WA, project funding and planning collaboration between governments.’’