What is being proposed for Middleton Beach?
The State Government, through DevelopmentWA, is working with the City of Albany and the Albany community to progress plans for the Middleton Beach Activity Centre in preparation for development by the private sector.
Under the Middleton Beach Activity Centre Improvement Plan No. 40, which was gazetted in November 2014, this project is considered as a catalyst to create additional interest and activity in Albany.
The vision is for a vibrant mixed-use development on the currently vacant site, which is located on Flinders Parade, across the road from the iconic Middleton Beach waterfront.
The development potentially could combine a mix of retail, commercial, short stay and permanent residential accommodation.
Crucial to the project’s success is the engagement with private developers to invest in the site and create an active community hub and popular destination for locals, visitors and tourists.
Why are private developers being sought?
The progress of this development ultimately will rely on private sector investment to transform the currently vacant site. That is why DevelopmentWA together with the City of Albany continue to work in collaboration are working to put the pieces in place that will attract private developers.
Key to this will be for the site to offer a mix of uses that will create an active, well visited precinct, including:
- A mix of retail, office, tourist and permanent residential accommodation
- Site planning for ease of access to the foreshore (the realignment of Flinders Parade and the creation of the Hotel/Mixed Use site with direct frontage to Middleton Beach.
The aim is to maximise the potential for this project to deliver social, economic and liveability benefits for the people of Albany as well as the many tourists who visit the area every year.
How has the community been involved to date?
An intensive three-month community engagement program in early 2015 provided the community with a series of consultation activities to provide input and help shape planning for the new Activity Centre and visitor destination.
Running from February through to April, a comprehensive series of activities were designed to engage with the community to help identify local requirements for recreational, sporting, cultural events, and commercial opportunities.
Following an online community survey and number of focus groups, DevelopmentWA and the City held a series of forums with key stakeholders including local organisations/groups, businesses, architects, urban designers and planners, and other areas of Government. These activities provided the community throughout May and June 2015 with opportunities to be informed about the key considerations for the Middleton Beach site as well as provide comment on a draft concept plan.
In December 2015, planning documents including the Local Scheme Amendment and Structure Plan were submitted to the City of Albany. These were advertised for Public Comment by the City in March 2016, providing the community with further opportunity to submit formal comment.
From 9 April 2018 to 21 May 2018, the Middleton Beach Foreshore Management Plan and, separately, the Design Guidelines were advertised for public comment. Submissions received during that process are currently being reviewed.
What has been the role of the State Government up to now?
The State Government, through DevelopmentWA, achieved a great outcome for the people of Albany at the end of 2014 by facilitating the purchase of the vacant Middleton Beach site from the previous owners.
DevelopmentWA successfully negotiated with the former owners of Lot 8888 Flinders Parade, Middleton Beach, Albany, to purchase the vacant site for $7 million.
The State Government part-funded the acquisition of the land with a $3.3M contribution to the purchase of the site.
When can the community expect to see construction activity at the Middleton Beach site?
Development timeframes for actual buildings will depend on securing private developers, and will be subject to their project schedules.
However, following planning approvals in 2016 for the Local Planning Scheme Amendment and Activity Centre Structure Plan, DevelopmentWA undertook the required road realignments, bulk earthworks and landscaping of the public realm and foreshore, completed in Janurary 2018.
What is the rationale for the height range being proposed for the Hotel/Mixed Use site in the planning documents?
Only one of the five lots within the development area proposes a maximum height of between 5 to 12 storeys – and that is the hotel/ mixed use site which has been deliberately positioned against the backdrop of Mount Adelaide/Mount Clarence to overcome potential height impact.
The former Esplanade Hotel site had been on the market for years with no buyers. The site did not offer a good economic outcome for private developers. As a result, the site remained vacant and eventually prompted the community into action, calling for something to be done.
The State Government responded and on its behalf, DevelopmentWA worked with the City of Albany to put the pieces together to create a plan that not only incorporates community feedback, offering some great outcomes including family friendly facilities and adaptable space for cultural or recreational events, but which also offers the best chance of attracting private investment.
Other considerations for hotel developers will include the type of mixed use facilities required on the lower floors; the number of short stay accommodation rooms that should be provided for tourists; and the provision of permanent residential apartments, which will activate the precinct all year round.
To help attract a suitable high quality Hotel/Resort developer to Middleton Beach, which would be an important catalyst to the associated mixed use and residential development proceeding on the other sites, we need to attract prospective developers with a building height range that will enable them to be creative and propose the most high quality and exciting development for the site.
Of course, until we put the site on the market, we cannot know what proposals developers will come back with – and we do not want to go to the international hotel market with a restrictive height limit.
It is very possible that hotel developers could come back with proposals that are under 12 storeys (greatly reducing building costs for them). But once we set in stone the height limits, and if they are too low to make development viable, then the community will be back at square one.
What environmental assessments were undertaken as part of preparing the Middleton Beach Activity Centre Scheme Amendment and structure plan?
A number of technical studies have been completed as part of the due diligence for the Middleton Beach development.
The associated reports are all attached to the Middleton Beach Activity Centre Structure Plan document as appendices and are available on DevelopmentWA website for downloading.
They include the following:
- Flora & Vegetation and Fauna Survey (2015)
- Geotechnical Investigation, Preliminary Acid Sulphate Soil Investigation and Dewatering Investigation (2015)
- Bushfire Management Plan (2015)
- Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Plan (2015)
- Local Water Management Strategy
How many homes will be built in the development and how many people will live there?
The total site area of the Middleton Beach Improvement Plan area is 3.29 hectares. Of this area, 67% will be allocated to public use comprising public open space, public access way, foreshore reserve and road reserves.
The remaining 33% or 1.1 hectares will provide the five development lots including the Hotel/Mixed use site connecting with the Middleton Beach foreshore.
As part of the planning process, we have identified a maximum of 295 dwellings resulting in an estimated population of 687 people. This is based on the development resulting in the full building heights and with an indicative mix of 1-2 bedroom homes being delivered.
However, it is possible that the number of dwellings will be less than this.
What parking provisions have been provided for as part of this development?
Public parking will be included along all existing roads surrounding the Middleton Beach Activity Centre, with provision for additional on-street parking along a new internal street running north-south through the development. This will result in an increase of public car parking bays within the area from 130 to 159.
Underground car parking is proposed for new residents in the development area.
What new public amenity will be provided through this development?
Two thirds of the site will be allocated to public realm comprising public open space, public access way, foreshore reserve and road reserves.
A new realigned Flinders Parade will provide a larger foreshore area and improved public realm, and strengthen pedestrian and cycle links throughout the Middleton Beach precinct.
The planning process also identified the provision of public realm for family friendly activities whilst taking in the views of the foreshore, such as adaptable spaces for pop up stores, busking, cultural and recreational events, weekend markets etc.
Please refer to the Landscape Master Plan at Appendix I of the Structure Plan document for further information.
How will this development fit in with the local community?
Before commencing any development on the land within the Middleton Beach Activity Centre area, developers will have to comply with the requirements of relevant Design Guidelines prepared by DevelopmentWA and the City of Albany.
Design guidelines will be established for proposed buildings and it is intended that they will be adopted as Planning Policy by the City of Albany following a public advertising period. The development will be designed to fit with the surrounding community and will consider important social connections.
For example they will guide the detailed design of proposed developments, in accordance with key principles outlined in the Structure Plan, which address building heights, building scale, street setbacks, and activation areas.
Draft Design Guidelines (DGs) have been prepared and advertised for public comment between 9 April 2018 and 21 May 2018. You can view the draft DGs in the Downloads tab on this webpage. You can also refer to Section 4.2 in the Structure Plan document for further information.
How long will the development take to complete?
A Staging Plan is included in the Structure Plan documents which splits the development of the site into three stages:
Stage 1 – Changes to the road network: realignment of Flinders Parade and reconstruction of Adelaide Crescent. Completed January 2018.
Stage 2 – Landscaping of the Public Realm on Flinders Parade, Adelaide Crescent and the Foreshore areas.
Stage 3 – Bulk earthworks and civil works for the development areas; as well as the Public Access Way (PAW) and internal roads; and Landscaping of the PAW and other public realm.
The development timeframe for the buildings and completion of Stage 3 works will depend on DevelopmentWA being able to sell the lots to private developers and them being able to obtain Development Approval for their projects to proceed.
What impact do the new Bushfire Regulations have on the development?
A Bushfire Management Plan has been prepared for the Middleton Beach site to demonstrate that appropriate regard has been given to the Planning for Bush Fire Protection Guidelines (2010) in the design and development of the Activity Centre Structure Plan.
While the Middleton Beach Activity Centre does not contain any bushfire prone vegetation it is located within the 100 metre bushfire prone buffer to the Mount Adelaide reserve.
As a result, all buildings will have to incorporate the bushfire resistant construction requirements of the Building Code, including as appropriate the provisions of AS3959 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas (as amended), commensurate with the bushfire attack level (BAL) established for the relevant portion of the site.
Please refer to Appendix F of the Structure Plan document in regard to this matter.