Freo's View


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, kings square, Uncategorized by freoview on July 22, 2017


There is a bit of ambiguity in this little snippet of the invitation to a Kings Square information session by the FRRAemantle Society.

“The Fremantle Society has from day one expressed concern at the King’s Square Business Plan. That and the flawed King’s Square Urban Design Study by CODA architects have set the parameters for large buildings insensitive to the scale of the historic human scale of Fremantle, the nearby World Heritage listed Fremantle Prison, turning King’s Square into King’s Triangle.” 

It was not the CODA Kings Square Urban Design Study that set the parameters for medium-rise buildings at Kings Square, but Planning Scheme Amendment 49, approved by the Minister in 2012.

PSA 49 identified 13 sites in the Fremantle CBD for high density infill. One site will become the Hilton Doubletree development, the Woolstores shopping centre site is another one, and Kings Square is also one of the PSA 49 sites.

Some of the historic woolstores in Fremantle are well above the “human scale” we constantly hear the Fremantle Society talking about, and the Townhall probably would not have been approved because of its height if FS had had anything to say about it.

The medium-rise Kings Square development will have no impact whatsoever on Fremantle Prison.

The lament about Kings Square being changed into two triangles is tedious, as in 1881 High Street was extended through the square, so two triangles were created then. One triangle belongs to St John’s church, the other triangle is City of Fremantle.

Only in 1960 was High Street closed and the square returned to a square, but the High Street road reserve still exists and St John’s church still own half of the square, realistically making it into two triangles.

Even now some traders in the West End want to reopen High Street through Kings Square to help their struggling businesses, but I hope that will never happen.

High density infill is a State Government requirement, and the near derelict condition of the city east of Kings Square will only benefit from substantial development, that will greatly help improve the retail and hospitality economy in our city.

Nothing is constant in life. The world changes, Fremantle progresses and modernises, and that is a good thing. We don’t live in a museum, but in a living, breathing space full of energy, innovation, change, creativity, and after 40 years of stagnation and hibernation, finally development!

What we need to be far more concerned about than the Kings Square Project and development in the East End is the relentless push by developers to get extra height in the historic West End of the city. That is not acceptable and needs to be stopped!

Roel Loopers

3 Responses

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  1. w3st3ndr3sid3nt said, on July 24, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Roel – we hope your recent grumpiness isn’t related to your recent health concerns…

    You know I will have to disagree with your point regarding those in the West End only wanting to reopen High Street to help business.

    For me it’s about rationalizing Freo’s mess of a town plan which has created too many backwaters. Opening High Street could have a flow-on benefit to many parts of Fremantle even up as far as North Fremantle. It would also open up opportunities for pedestrians areas elsewhere that actually work, unlike the current mall and square.


  2. freoview said, on July 23, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    You are good at re-writing history JD, as you did in the Herald, basically claiming the Rottnest Quod goal was a kind of health farm for Aboriginal prisoners, when historic documents refer to it as a non-rehabilitation institution.

    The ambiguity of the motion you put to the public meeting was twice discussed at Fremantle Society committee meetings and it was decided that since no plans existed at the time we could not follow up on your motion.


  3. John Dowson said, on July 23, 2017 at 8:26 am

    You omit to mention that when president of the Fremantle Society you failed to carry out the resolution of the Society at a public meeting to review the CODA King’s Square Urban Design Study. A review would have identified the flaws in the urban design study and helped in the campaign to save King’s Square, the only town square in Western Australia, and potentially help turn it into a true civic square for future generations.

    The fact that King’s Square has never reached its potential as a true civic square (necessitating the removal of the administration building from the square to another site) does not mean that the Fremantle Society will not keep trying even at this late stage, as our views are backed up by all the experts commissioned in the $60,000 council report from 2006, and by the report we commissioned ourselves from Dr Linley Lutton.

    Your opinion is that the King’s Square developments have no impact on the World Heritage Prison. That is not the view of the former Chair of the Australian Heritage Commission, whose expressed concerns were ignored by Fremantle Council.

    You sneer at the Fremantle Society for wanting to protect the human scale of Fremantle’s historic town, one of its most endearing characteristics. The fact that on the edge of the town there were several wool stores, the ‘Giants of Fremantle’, does not undermine our support for the value of human scale, and the Town Hall is not a large box, but a relatively small triangular building with a thin tower.

    You fail to mention that the ‘high density infill’ demanded by the State Government is no longer the same urgent requirement it originally was, given the dramatic drop in WA’s population growth recently.

    The Fremantle Society has never been against development, just against bad development.

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