Future Activity Centre – Progress Update

In the middle of 2020 the Shire of Peppermint Grove and the Town of Cottesloe met with the Minister for Planning to convey initial findings of research into the Cottesloe Village (Cott Village) and to ask for support from the WA Government agencies to progress further study. 

The Minister agreed the project was worthy of support and asked the Department of Planning Lands and Heritage to coordinate input from the transport and land use agencies. 

All parties agreed that Cottesloe was an optimal location to develop an urban rail village – to capitalise on the investment of public transit (value capture) and to improve the immediate surroundings of the centre for better connectivity through better walking and cycling. 

A Project Technical Facilitation Group is to be established to investigate how to better shape decisions which might impact the Cott Village – in particular decisions around the Stirling Highway and the Perth to Fremantle Railway.  It will also progress design and planning work explaining the vision for the centre and how day-to-day planning decisions need to deliver on this vision.  State and local planning needs to make clear this direction for the designers of future buildings and spaces.

In November the Shire of Peppermint Grove undertook a community questionnaire as part of its Strategic Community Plan project.  Although the Shire asked about more than just the Cottesloe Centre, respondents indicated they wanted the Cott village to retain is community feel also to improve its built quality, diversity of service offering and to present a balance of high-quality urban development in all future redevelopment projects. 

The degree to which a plan may influence the decisions of private land developers relies upon community and stakeholder support and agreement of vision and objectives for the Cottesloe Village. 

The next stages will involve design and technical professionals examining options to improve the flow of traffic around and through the centre, to liberate more space for pedestrians, cyclists and overall open green space.  Building forms (height and site coverage) are also important design matters, especially given that the Cottesloe Village currently benefits from a network of alleys and arcades as well as laneways for service vehicles. 

The challenge is to be put to architects and urban designers to re-imagine a refreshed Cottesloe Village rather than a ground-zero redevelopment or an ad-hoc pastiche of disconnected sites. 

Crossing of the highway and the railway, as well as ‘minimal’ facilities at the Cottesloe Rail station, are obvious areas for better attention to design.  The overall land use character of the Cottesloe Village is also an important consideration.  It needs to retain and build upon its present character. 

Our earlier research indicates the ‘Cott village’ (pre-COVID19) as a remarkably diverse collection of services and goods for it modest floorspace footprint.  Commercial rents per square metre are some of the highest on Perth, somewhat surprising given many of the modest and dated buildings and tired public spaces.  The great coastal location must count for something intangible but valuable.

 The possibility was raised that Cottesloe Village in the future might focus on specialist niches for goods and services.  A more tailored approach to land use and planning might be required to assemble the most useful and complementary collection of businesses and related uses to consider calling Cottesloe home.  A design industry district is emerging to the south-east of the village.  From a small start, this emphasis may continue to attract other design professions to locate in and around Cottesloe – to grow a culture of quality design.

Cottesloe Central already blends the staples of supermarket and consumables, with health and wellness services.  The civic centre at the Grove is one of the best local government facilities in the western suburbs.  Other parts of the village may develop for services of hospitality and possibly tourism.  The low-key sophistication is often cited as the character of the village – a west coast vibe of chic, but friendly.   Success will require plenty of business owners, operators, landlords and residents to join to a shared vision for an exciting local urban rail village of the future. 

After the two Councils agreed to work together, it is heartening the WA Government will join the initiative to shape a better Cott Village for the future.  Work will continue over the next two years to better understand the opportunities and to roll out necessary improvements to the centre and its surroundings to more clearly benefit local people and businesses, living and working in Cottesloe. 

The following links will take you to the Research Reports: