Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, development, fremantle by freoview on February 20, 2016


I had a walk through the new Landcorp development at the corner of Amherst and Blinco Street yesterday because I believe the area has huge potential to become one of the major urban infill projects in Fremantle and WA and is in need of a collaborative masterplan between the City of Fremantle and WA state government. It needs Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority style planning and management because the potential area is huge from Blinco to nearly Stevens Street and from Wood to Montreal Street and the golf course.

The area could become a showcase for urban development and higher density living that is just a ten-minute bicycle ride from Kings Square.

At present there are the 2-3 storey boxes designed by architect Michael Patroni, but a State Government that demands that local governments increase density the next step to the south surely must go up with higher buildings between 4-8 storeys.

Once the City of Fremantle has built its new works depot in O’Connor the Knutsford Street site on the corner of Montreal Street will also become available for development, so the whole area needs serious long-term planning and not just ad hoc development.

The potential to make this the new suburb for all income earners is huge. You could have 16 storey landmark spikes with penthouses with sweeping 360 degree views, but also student, low-income and Homeswest accommodation.

Busses come through Amherst Street and many more through Leach Highway/High Street so the new residential suburb would be close enough to public transport corridors to make it a desirable location for young and old, the well-off and the less-affluent. And it would only take twenty minutes to walk to the CBD.

With such high numbers of residents there would have to be retail outlets for cafes and delis, good public open and green spaces would have to be planned for, and part of the enormous development area could also have small office accommodation.

What it needs to create an outstanding new suburb is intensive long-term urban planning and consistent governance. The State should not demand higher density living from councils when it does not build it itself. Simply releasing land to developers to build single houses is short-sighted financial gain only. I am surprised the new buildings that are already occupied are only 2-3 storeys high, because there is not a lot of community amenity and lifestyle in danger in what was basically a semi-industrial area, so the area is well-suited for higher and more substantial buildings.

Roel Loopers

17 Responses

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  1. Suzanne said, on February 22, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    The Fremantle Council has proven, it’s appalling lack of business and financial acumen with the sale of assets such as Queensgate and the continuing state of affairs (or lack thereof) over Kings Square and on and on.
    They don’t have to be intellectually astute, but they do need to seek advice from experts for guidance.

    Thank you Martin, Mark and Andrew L,
    for your reasearched, logical and knowledgable comments.

    If only, if only……oh what the use…..


  2. freoview said, on February 22, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Tourism should and could be one of Fremantle’s main priorities but the Mayor is on record saying we can’t just remain a sleepy tourist port, not sure why not as it works for the Adriatic coast pretty well and most other projects appear more stop-gap than long-term planning.

    Kings Square is a disaster Fremantle could not afford to have in its attempt at economic recovery and Queensgate is now being almost given away to young entrepreneurs, architects, creatives, instead of making money for the city. Will that continue when the Kings Square project will get abandoned in a few months and what rent loss has the COF made over those years of waiting for Godot, I mean Housing?



  3. martin said, on February 22, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Income comes from rates, grants and rental from CoF owned properties. Perhaps the CoF could try to live within its means. Perhaps it could spend it funds more wisely.
    Instead our current Council is selling off it’s income generating properties and funding solar powered parklets, coffee grounds recycling and electric car recharging stations that will rarely be used. I don’t think the CoF has an income problem – it has a spending problem.


  4. Mark said, on February 22, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Seriously Paul if you are worried about revenue for the city just look at queengate it used to generate over a $1,000,000.00 a year now it sits idle waiting for a developer to build on it which they will get for less than market value.
    If it is revenue you are concerned about then perhaps when the city sold revenue generating assets those funds should be reinvested into more revenue generating assets as oppose to personal political motivated projects

    I agree with you that small councils should have had amalgamation, I would have been happy to see Freo and east Freo joined with Melville or Cockburn, but not the crap plan of cutting little bits off here and there

    The city ward has over 3300 eligible voters so I imagine a considerable amount residents

    That entertainment strip is all that’s keeping Freo alive, in vic park it brought the city back to life. Tourism could be an even bigger driver for the Freo if it was handled better and if visitors, 1st impression of the city wasn’t one of a ghetto look as you arrive on the train

    Good to see anyone who doesn’t follow your thought process is a whinger, sorry your still struggling with the idea of democracy


  5. freoview said, on February 22, 2016 at 7:07 am

    I agree again with you, Martin and I don’t come from a perspective of entitlement when I want more diversity in housing in Fremantle, and I don’t mean in the top locations! I am looking for pockets that can handle medium density and those that can take some high density, e.g. the former quarry site on Lefroy Road and the Knutsford/Blinco/Motreal/Stevens streets.

    We have been getting it wrong too often so I want better long-term planning. People along Solomon Street complained for years about the Mac Mansions suddenly towering over beautiful heritage homes, but Council allowed it to happen.

    I want good, diverse housing in appropriate locations and I have no doubt there is nowhere where those who live there already will not like the change to their suburbs, but you know as well as I do that Fremantle is not the sleepy port backwater where the wharfies were served by skimpies in the west end, and it is no longer the place built my Italians, Croats, etc.

    I came to Perth in September 1984 and moved to Fremantle in 1990 and the changes since have been considerable. I have never fought change or height as a matter of principle but I have fought hard against inappropriate development, sometimes successful but sadly more often than not my views were ignored by Council.

    I want to have a say in Freo’s future and I want to feel I am being listened to. I like it that there is finally after a too long break, development in Fremantle, especially the ugly run down parts in the east CBD, but I would have liked to see more inspiring architecture and I don’t know how we can achieve that with a Council that rarely listens and State Government agencies such as DAP and SAT overruling the few good decisions local councils make when it comes to planning approval.



  6. martin said, on February 21, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    There are a few on Freo Council that believe that because they were raised in Freo they have an entitlement to be able to afford to buy a house in Freo. They need to grow up and face reality.
    Freo has changed and it is not even the affordable place it was just 15 years ago. Suburbs change, suburbs transform, and the affordability of suburbs can defy logic. Look at Balmain in Sydney, or Hampton in Melbourne and you will understand the reality of life. Look at Brixton in London and you will see a transformation that defied logic. Is it fair – No! That’s life.
    My parents bought into a cheap suburb in 1975, where I grew up, that I cannot even dream of affording now. It only became desirable ten years ago!
    Picture a kid growing up in Cottesloe bemoaning the property prices there and how unjust it is that he cannot afford to buy a waterfront property in the suburb in which he grew up – the CoF Councillors would simply ridicule him!!!
    Yet our Councillors want to make Freo affordable for them and their friends… Sounds like Animal Farm / 1984 all over.
    Some of us got lucky and bought in Freo early, but even then we stretched ourselves as far as we could to buy what we could afford – no sense of entitlement there.
    Why should people be “entitled” to afford a house in Freo. Imagine the same discussion about City Beach, Dalkieth, Trigg or Applecross!!! It would be ridiculed by Council.
    Freo is Subjected to the same laws of supply and demand as the rest of the planet. Why does our Council think that their friends are more equal than the rest of us.
    Amazing how many Green Lefties with lofty values have Scotch College educations and hefty inheritances… what a luxurious indulgence!
    Higher density yes, but not at all cost. Some people bought here because they liked what they saw. Many do not like what is proposed because it goes against the reasons they moved here in the first place. Who has the right to ignore people that have made their single biggest financial investment in life in Freo? Council is supposed to represent these people, not ride roughshot over them.
    A large dash of reality is needed here!!! I bought what I could afford, and the same should apply to everybody else.


  7. freoishome said, on February 21, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Many of the whingers who post regularly on Roel’s blog, complain that CoF isn’t doing enough. The same people who supported E.Freo stopping CoF increase its LA boundary, to give it the space to grow and the extra population to increase it’s ratepayer base. Remaining one of the smallest LA, but also having to provide an entertainment precinct primarily for the benefit of guests from other suburbs, states and countries, and meet all the whinger needs is a big ask. City ward, the CBD only has 800 residents!
    So come on whingers, if CoF income is not to come from increased density, where is it to come from?


  8. freoview said, on February 21, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Not I keep pushing for higher density housing, Jayne, but the reality and state government. The area I wrote about is well away from the historic city centre and if you or anyone else believe we will be able to continue without higher density than you should all move to a nice and quiet wheatbelt town, because like it or not, Fremantle will grow, develop and progress.

    And it has nothing to do with the ‘Greenies’. I am certainly not one of them, but someone who is a pragmatic realist who does not live in lala land and believes everything will just stay the same.



  9. Jayne said, on February 21, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Spot on Andrew. We all chose to live in Freo because it was different – low rise, character buildings and a sense of community. The Greenies seem determined to overpopulate the place with humans and concrete – not exactly what the founders of the Green Party had in mind I imagine. I still remember when being Green meant protecting the natural environment from humans not the other way around.

    Roel, you love Freo but keep pushing for increasing density and cheap housing. But with thousands more people jammed in, we will lose all that we love about the place. You bring up Subiaco and East Perth as examples of what can be done in Freo. I wonder if you have actually spent any time there. These are expensive, soulless enclaves with a high turnover of rental tenants and many units purchased by overseas investors, remaining empty most of the year. Parking is always a problem and the shops are empty.

    Freo is already high density in residential areas, it already has more state housing that other electorates and certainly doesnt have enough parks and gardens. Watch what you wish for Roel.


  10. freoview said, on February 21, 2016 at 9:26 am

    There is no evidence from other major developments such as the East perth redevelopment, the Midland Redevelopment and Subi Centro that substantial infill becomes a slum for undesirables.

    I am suggesting a large variety of living options and that has nothing to do with socialism, communism, do-gooderism, or bleading-heartism, but a lot to do with realism, as in reality and trying to find a positive way out of the urban sprawl that costs us all a shitload of money on infrastructure, public transport, etc. The coast line of metro Perth is already over 100 km long. How much further out would you like to see the city spread and will you be prepared to pay for it?



  11. freoview said, on February 21, 2016 at 6:29 am

    If a huge development like that area is done well, e.g. East Perth, Midland, Subi Centro, and taken out of the hands of individual selfish developers, it can be a really good thing. It can create great vibrancy, not slum quality, and offer housing for every level of income. And because that specific site is actually quite remote I believe it would handel a couple of highrise buildings very well when combined with 2-6 storey buildings and a couple of up to 8 storeys. It is important though that there is individuality in that process, so you have some classy townhouses, medium density smaller blocks, and of course substantial green space and trees.
    It’s a challenge but I believe it can be done.



  12. Mark said, on February 20, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    No I don’t want it to stay as a vacant block.
    If they developed at the same R code as the rest of the suburb it would be great or similar to the rest of white gum valley.
    A park would also be great but not likely with our councils yearning for concrete and ugly little boxes and hatred of grass.
    Despite your attempt at a cheap NIMBY shot, I’m quite clear and consistent on my position on density in the suburbs be it mine all anyone else’s. Not flip flopping around like some.

    No one living in a house wants a 4 or 5 story block of apartments next to their house.
    I bet we won’t see any approved development like that next to the mayors house, well not why he owns it anyway?

    Where does this belief come from that WA will double in growth soon.

    That mindset is all based on top end boom numbers not what we are having at the moment.

    Population growth is now close to a standstill in WA, so doubling is not likely unless there is a boom going on I haven’t heard of.

    When it comes to how people should live and in what, I would consider the argument when those trying to dictate the circumstances lived that way themselves. Nothing worse than hypocrisy, in French Tartuffe, in the translation to Ozzie it says refer to “Fremantle Council”.

    Just recently I saw pics on facebook how this density at any cost is looking, now its making some areas of Fremantle look like the bad end of the trailer parks in the USA.
    Permanent tiny houses noting more than mine-site Dongas, reportedly, approved to live in at rear blocks in Beaconsfield.

    This may be your idea of development Roel its not mine, though I’m sure such sites like this help with ward loading.


  13. Andrew.L said, on February 20, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    Mark I couldn’t agree more. After growing up myself in the cess pit of public housing in Willagee surrounded by criminals and the unstable, I couldn’t wait to get into the workforce save, move out from my parents and buy my own piece of paradise to raise my own family. Little did I know I was moving bang smack in the middle of it courtesy of the Freo council sustainable and affordable mandate.
    This is not diversity as it eventually becomes a slum once home owners sell up and move. Property prices drop and it becomes a low quality rental suburb. Exactly what our far left thinking council want, redistribution of wealth from working middle class to the poor. This is the ultimate agenda of social engineering and nothing to do with good planning, sustainability, diversity or architecture. We now have a socialist council with socialist ideals. No wonder they want everything on rail, they would like nothing more than to put all the capitalist on board and send them to Siberia.


  14. freoview said, on February 20, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    So what Mark? You want to keep it as a vacant block or maybe a huge park that might attract undesirable people. I believe a mix of housing with adequate public spaces is brilliant. Don’t you want any development in Fremantle, or just not near where you live. The two storeys at Blinco hardly impact on those on the norther side of the road and like it or not, drug dealers will be around for a long time and in all parts of town and low-income earners and Homeswest people also need somewhere to live.
    Single dwellings with big gardens are not sustainable when the WA population is going to double soon.

    The area was semi-industrial, not a leavey suburb.



  15. Mark said, on February 20, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Roel the community in Blinco St are already up in-arms about development just across the road as their homes/houses where getting two story in front of them. Not to mention the street already has huge parking issues. So how you think that 8 stories is OK I have no idea.
    The area has a mountain of homes West housing just up the street, just over in Beaconsfield is a whole lot more, known as the Beacy Broncs, also well known for massive police raids and a continually hot bed of trouble, petty crime home invasions, vandalism graffiti and intimation to those who call the authorities to complain. Across the road on the northern side of High St is a heap more.
    Just up the Hill from this area going East, they have over a couple of years homes demolished, Homes West houses, which were also well known for drug dealing hot spots and domestic violence.

    Some quotes from the herald
    “He says some locals will welcome Homes west’s exit as tenants’ drug-dealing has been an issue for years.”

    “Hope Street’s Les Moyle has lived in the area for 32 years and he’s glad to see the back of Homes west and hopefully backyard meth labs and police visits.”
    I was standing alongside Steve Grant when he took the photo at this community group meeting, 6 or 7 mins walk from the place your article is referring too. Again lots of promises at the this meeting about actions the council was going to take, (possibly as it was just before an election) now the election has past, action seems pretty much nothing on the issue.

    Fremantle already has a higher than average % of homes west than the average suburb and needs no more. Just 2 weeks ago we see cars torched at the cold store area as drug dealing issues come to the front in homes west houses again.
    “Car blaze last straw for terrified tenant
    A CAR that was set alight in an alleged arson attack belongs to a man who was last week involved in a fracas with neighbours at Fremantle’s Cold Stores housing complex(“Residents besieged,” Herald, February 13, 2016).
    A 43-year-old fellow tenant of the WA Housing complex between Queen Victoria and Beach Streets has been charged with criminal damage by fire”

    We shouldn’t even need to mention the traffic issues in the area as both High St and Stevens St have traffic issue leaving the valley on Steven St at both ends is already dangerous with dumb design on Hampton Rd and the council ignoring a decade of complaints about the other end on Carrington where you have to blindly out onto a major rd.
    South St has its own set of problems and the High St intersection with Stirling Hwy is another traffic black spot, well known for accidents and is full of trucks from the port as it’s the major route out.

    The local primary school is full, past capacity with transportable units on the school oval. The Kim Beazley site is yet to have single resident move in, which is set to add 100’s more on just one block, in the middle of the mess I have just mentioned

    And you think adding thousands on more people into a suburb area in high rises to create future slums is a good idea?

    You may not have noticed but people who spend millions on penthouses don’t like the idea of a possible drug dealer or meth lab on the ground floor under their penthouse, having to rely on the roll of the dice you get from homes west.

    High density in this area would be a disastrous outcome for what was another leafy green suburb, rapidly being destroyed by a political motivated councils density drive which is destroying our tree canopy and massively increasing our urban heat sink
    Ours suburbs should look more like this
    than more concrete boxes like we see on Amherst St as in your pics above.

    Leaving less and less space for kids to play while driving more traffic in a poorly designed and maintained road network

    The council could not f-/: up more if they tried.

    I have been to places our Mayor Brad Pettitt wants to mimic like Malmo, I have friends from there and outlaying districts all have seen their amenity deteriorating, as Malmö has become a centre for crime, violence, drug dealing and organized crime.
    Not exactly what I would like to see copied into Freo we have enough shit as it is.


  16. Pete said, on February 20, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    The developers will do what’s best for them and no one else.


  17. Andrew Sullivan said, on February 20, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    The LandCorp development is a good start but it would be a wasted opportunity if that same density was rolled out across the whole of the Knutsford and Swanbourne street development sites.

    About a decade ago, LandCorp had an approved structure plan for a low density single residential development across the whole of the Swanbourne Street site. Armed with my original Green Plan from the 90’s and the far more ambitious Knutsford Street plan that I worked on with the WGV community, I was able to get some progressive staff at LandCorp to challenge their bosses about their own very suburban proposal that they were all set to develop – thankfully LandCorp went back to the drawing board. Included in that win for urban infill was a victory for the Green Plan as well as the top of the Swanbourne Street Hill will be set aside as open space without the MacMansions that had previously been proposed.

    Now the proposal for the Swanbourne Street site has a much higher overall density and much greater diversity in housing stock. It was agreed at the time that for pragmatic reasons that this first stage would be a little less ambitious in terms of density in what is a largely untested market for the area. That said, it happens also to be very high quality and offers some interesting housing choices. In that sense, it helps set the tone for the area and also transitions from the old to the new.

    The planning for the Knutsford and Swanbourne street areas still has challenges to overcome and some opportunities yet to be fully realised. However, it has come a long way under the careful guidance of this progressive Council.

    Onwards and upwards I say, and yes I do mean both figuratively and literally.


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