March 26, 2023
Case Study
Witchcliffe Augusta Character Study

Each place in the Shire of Augusta Margaret River (the Shire) has its own distinct character and lifestyle. In order to preserve the things that contribute to each town’s unique character, the Shire engaged Element Advisory to undertake Character Studies for Witchcliffe and Augusta town centres to help identify the qualities that define each townsite within the region.

The key project objectives were to measure and quantify the character of Witchcliffe and Augusta, capturing the individual qualities of places as well as the collective ‘whole’ of the place; identify and summarise the elements of the existing built form that contribute positively to the character of the study area and its surroundings; and provide recommendations to guide the protection of each township’s character, identity, and sense of place.

The Character Studies provide an overview of the spatial, interactive, and experiential elements that contribute positively to the character of a place and are tangible reminders of townsite history and heritage. The outcomes of the Character Studies will form the basis of future planning controls and strategic direction for Shire projects to ensure they are sensitive to the individual character of the Shire’s townsites.

Urban design and heritage consultants from Element Advisory were appointed to assist the Shire. To prepare the character study, our team undertook a range of tasks were undertaken to properly understand the study area, its local values, and the distinct character and identity of the townsite. These included a desktop research analysis, local surveys, character criteria frameworks, and spending ‘time in place’.

It is intended that the final reports for each townsite will be adopted by the Shire and will provide the guidance for the preparation of Place Plans, or other future planning documents and development applicable to Witchcliffe and Augusta.

This project resulted in the production of Character Study Reports for Witchcliffe and Augusta. Each report included recommendations informed by the character study analyses that outlined the spatial, interactive, and experiential elements which should be embraced and respected in future planning controls prepared for each townsite.

Adherence to these recommendations in the future Place Plan, Design Guidelines and/or Precinct Plan for the townsite will help manage future townsite growth and ensure future development is delivered in a way that is appropriate and sympathetic to the valued character and history of the locality.