Increased maximum building heights at Rockingham foreshore proposed by City

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph
Proposed changes to the planning policy could see high rises upto 24-storeys high at the Rockingham foreshore precinct. Image: City of Rockingham
Camera IconProposed changes to the planning policy could see high rises upto 24-storeys high at the Rockingham foreshore precinct. Image: City of Rockingham

High rise developments of up to 24 storeys high could become a reality in Rockingham with the City proposing changes to the planning policy for Rockingham Beach Road and Kent Street within the foreshore precinct.

The current planning policy allows for buildings up to 30m high, or eight-storeys, in the area bounded by Rockingham Beach Road, Wanliss Street, Kent Street and Alexandra Street, and 19m, or five storeys, in remaining areas.

Amendments proposed to Planning Policy No.3.2.5 - Development Policy Plan Waterfront Village Sector (PP3.2.5) would allow for building heights of 45m, or 12 storeys, with the opportunity for a maximum height up to 24 storeys subject to certain development criteria being met.

In early 2017, the City engaged Mackay Urbandesign to undertake a building height study to determine an appropriate scale of development for the precinct, and to review the policy guidelines to manage the height and massing of buildings that may be constructed in the precinct.

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The study considered the appropriateness of taller buildings in the precinct in relation to a range of factors including the broader landscape context; strategic planning objectives; the local townscape; environmental impacts; community sentiment and benefit; and economic impact.

Mackay Urbandesign used Cairns, Gold Coast (Qld), Manly Beach (NSW), St Kilda and Port Melbourne (Victoria) and Glenelg (SA) as examples of tall buildings being used in the context of coastal landscapes in its study and determined anticipated population growth and the limited opportunities for coastal development as evidence that a coastal centre such as Rockingham needed to work hard to perform its role as a regional destination.

Following a series of internal workshops, the City decided the most appropriate development scenario included a preferred ‘tower and podium’ build form ranging from 12 to 24 storeys high along Rockingham Beach Road, with ‘European’ urban buildings six to eight storeys high preferred for Kent Street.

“In reaching this conclusion, it was noted that the contexts of Rockingham Beach Road and Kent Street are very different and demand different built form responses,” the City’s report said.

“Rockingham Beach Road has an ocean outlook and a well-vegetated foreshore that suits increased building height that provides views without resulting in an excessive visual presence, whereas Kent Street is a more intimate environment with limited outlook that demands a more traditional relationship between buildings and the street.”

The officer recommendation is for council to approve the changes, but it won’t go to council until after public submissions close on February 15.

Residents can make submissions in writing to the Chief Executive Officer, PO Box 2142, Rockingham DC 6967 or by email to customer@rockingham.wa.gov.au.

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