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Client: City of Melville

Site Area: 400m catchment from an identified centre point, equating to approximately 50 ha of land

Location: The intersection of Canning Highway and Stock Road – 5 kms northeast of Fremantle and 10 kms southwest of Perth.


Melville District Centre is a mixed-use centre on the corner of Canning Highway and Stock Road, featuring a recreation centre, playing fields, housing, retail and commercial facilities. The Centre is in need of rejuvenation and this requires a plan for a coordinated redevelopment that also fits within the relevant policy framework.

The Melville District Centre is located on Canning Highway. Presently, it is poorly defined and poorly differentiated from elsewhere along the highway. There is little sense of it being a ‘Centre.’ The northern and southern portions of the Centre are disconnected by the highway and its key features are not effectively connected to each other. Pedestrian pathways and building edges are, for the most part, in need of improvement.

Rowe Group was appointed to develop the Melville District Centre Plan together with a range of supporting Town Planning Scheme Provisions. The plan will be the result of a critical analysis of the Centre and its function in the context of current policy.

As the project unfolds, one of our greatest challenges will be to ensure that the plan responds to the needs of very diverse user groups and meets the needs of landowners.

The Melville District Centre presents a standard but dated offering of activities and services in keeping with its district classification. Whilst key activities and uses such as commercial, retail, residential, recreation and public transport are provided within the centre, it inherently suffers from a dispersed form which is further exacerbated by Canning Highway dissecting its central core.

Its location, straddling Canning Highway, has also resulted in piecemeal redevelopment and investment. As such, the built environment comprises a mixture of streetscapes, in terms of age quality and useability.

Notwithstanding, the centre provides all key services and the purpose of the precinct plan was to identify opportunities to build on its current successes, which will in turn provide a framework for future centre planning tasks.

Given the project area includes a number of user groups, existing residents and business owners, in determining a vision for the centre it was important to undertake an extensive community engagement process. It was also critical to understand major landowners’ plans for the future. In response, a Community Engagement Plan that was able to capture all of this information was developed and included “one on one” interviews with major landowners, residents less mobile/potentially sensitive community groups (including Senior Citizens), a letter drop and questionnaire to local businesses, letter and fact sheet drop working with on-line questionnaires to residents and public information booths at the Centre’s library and shopping centre.

A detailed site analysis was undertaken of the Centre and its surrounds to understand key issues such as pedestrian and cycling movements, quality and useability of the public realm, underutilised landholdings and opportunities for development, residential densities, open space availability, and public transport services.

From this analysis the precinct plan presents four potential development scenarios, from limited public realm upgrades through to fully realised redevelopment of the project area and considers staging of works and development. Given the potential redevelopment opportunities, it was also important for the City’s elected members to understand and appreciate the forms of density being proposed. The development scenarios were therefore articulated through detailed 3D modelling to illustrate density options and their resulting built form.