Freo's View

FREO’S WEST END CONSERVATION AREA TO BE REDUCED

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 18, 2018

 

Fremantle Council is reviewing its West End Conservation Area Policy, with the aim to put it in line with the area included in the WA Register of Heritage Places.

The agenda item on the agenda of the Strategic Planning and Transport Committee reads in part as follows:

The boundaries of the current policy extend well beyond the area commonly known as the West End, and accommodate diverse land use, built form and character. The area commonly known as the West End (Precinct 2 within the current policy) corresponds with one of the distinct areas established by John Septimus Roe in the first (published) town plan in 1833. This reflected both the topography of the area and its intended role within the hierarchy of the town, each area of which included distinctive block shapes and sizes as well as differing orientation, street widths and lot size.

The concentration of investment in the buildings within this area during the gold rush has created a strong built form character which has remained relatively intact, with buildings not only visually harmonious but also reflective of the function and evolution of the town’s early days. The significance of this area and its recent listing on the state heritage register prompt a tailored approach.

The current boundaries include areas of land exempt from approvals under the Local Planning Scheme (namely the Port area, Arthur Head Reserve and the Fishing Boat Harbour) which are controlled by the state, and areas within which the City’s primary control is as manager of the land, as opposed to through the scheme (such as The Agenda – Strategic Planning and Transport Committee 20 June 2018 Page 16 Esplanade and Arthur Head). Furthermore some of these areas, such as Arthur Head Reserve, are separate listings on the State Register of Heritage Places in their own right in recognition of their different (from the West End) character and qualities in terms of cultural heritage significance.

From an administrative perspective, it is recommended that these areas be excluded and covered in separate documents informing the City’s position on the planning and management of these areas, but recognising that the City’s approval under the scheme is generally not required. This has been occurring to a certain extent already, through the development of separate policies and masterplans for these areas, as outlined in Attachment 2. The boundaries of the current policy area overlap with those of Precinct 5 within Local Planning Policy 3.1.5 (LPP 3.1.5) (adopted in 2013) which causes inconsistency and confusion. LPP 3.1.5 recognises (as this policy does) that the Fremantle city centre is made up of a number of inter-related precincts which function as a whole. The boundaries of these precincts vary slightly, depending on whether they are being drawn more from a heritage versus zoning versus land use versus built form perspective, but as there is a relationship between all of these matters, so there are similarities in precinct boundaries. In relation to built form, it is preferable that each distinct area be subject to a single area-based policy. 

The item is on the agenda this coming Wednesday at 6pm at the SPT Committee of the City of Fremantle at the North Fremantle community hall.

Roel Loopers

CRANE A SIGN OF FREO’S MODERN FUTURE

 

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The crane assembly crew at Fremantle’s Kings Square even worked on Sunday to get the large crane ready for the construction of the new building on the former Queensgate site.

They probably wanted to take advantage of the good weekend weather, in the knowledge that the forecast for this week is showers.

Roel Loopers

 

WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY GAIN FROM HIGHER DENSITY?

 

A new report by the Property Council of Australia appears to contradict the push for small houses and backyard infill by the City of Fremantle.

Hap-hazard low-density infill presents a major obstacle to coordinated and strategic development, the report claims. It suggests that to prevent this kind of on the hop development councils should introduce a minimum size of 1,200sqm blocks for development.

The report argues that people need to acknowledge that they are getting better outcomes from high-density development, but that shows not to be the case here in Fremantle, where nothing or very little is added to the public realm near medium and high-density new apartment blocks. Where are the new parks, grassed areas, community spaces, children’s playgrounds?

According to the report Perth will have 4 million residents by 2050, with many living in  apartments and townhouses near transport hubs and using trains for transport.

It will be interesting in this context to hear Freo Mayor Brad Pettitt speak about the lessons we can learn from Singapore at the next Fremantle Network event at the National Hotel, coming Tuesday at 6pm.

Roel Loopers

FREO KINGS SQUARE PROGRESS REPORT

 

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KS1

 

The first bit of scaffolding, to allow for the removal of asbestos, is now up at the Fremantle civic centre next to the Townhall.

Over the road ground work has begone on the former Queensgate site and it is a matter of days until we will see the start of the construction of the new building.

It is all part of the Kings Square Redevelopment Project by Sirona Capital and the City of Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

EARLY START FOR FREMANTLE HILTON HOTEL

 

If approved by Fremantle Council the construction of the Hilton Doubletree Hotel and 99 residential apartments will already start in October this year, and not as planned in January 2020.

The SKS Land group, which owns the site, has applied to start Stage 1 in October, which would see the demolition of the multi-storey Point Street car park and the new ground level car park next to it.

Just over a year ago in April 2017 Council approved the application by SKS for a two year extension for the commencement of the development and created a ground-level carpark, but now SKS wants to immediately start with the demolition and excavation, to construct a two-storey basement car park and the ground level slab.

If the pre-sale target for the 99 apartments is reached the entire development will start, but if not there could be a one year pause in construction.

The development commencement would also force the relocation of Circus WA.

I believe it is very good news that SKS wants to start the development 15 months earlier, but believe they should pay compensation for the exterior painting of the multi-storey carpark and the cost of the construction of the ground-level carpark to the City of Fremantle.

The early construction will not only mean that Fremantle will lose over 300 car bays but also that the City will in 2019 lose out on $ 114,000 in parking fees from the site.

Fremantle is in urgent need of more tourist accommodation and with the Woolstores development on halt it would be positive if the Hilton Doubletree Hotel was erected sooner than planned, but the possible one-year pause if pre-sale targets are not met is a worry.

The request will go before the FPOL Committee of Fremantle Council this coming Wednesday.

Roel Loopers

FUTURE OF EAST FREO’S ROYAL GEORGE IN DOUBT

 

DSC_9008

 

The future of the heritage-listed Royal George Hotel in Duke Street, East Fremantle is in jeopardy after the East Fremantle Council on Wednesday approved a scheme amendment that will only allow six storey buildings in the precinct, without discretionary additional height.

Saracen properties have proposed to refurbish the beautiful old building but to make that financially lucrative for the developers they wanted a 21-storey slim tower on the vacant site behind the hotel.

It is highly unlikely that Saracen will now continue with their proposal, but abandon it, which will severely bring into doubt the future of the Royal George, that has been vacant and derelict for far too many years.

It would be a real shame if a compromise can’t be found, but the new scheme amendment does not allow for much give and take.

Roel Loopers

FROM THE FREMANTLE PLANNING COMMITTEE

 

The Fremantle Council Planning Committee met in North Fremantle last night with an agenda of interesting items.

The two storey additions to a house in Thompson Road received the normal for and against public speakers and was deferred to full council.

The four-storey mixed use development of tourist accommodation, residential and restaurant at Parry Street, that has interesting architecture, was sent on for approval to JDAP, and the Wild Bakery will be able to relocate to the corner of Scott Street and South Terrace, although nearby residents were worried about parking issues.

An alteration in Hale Street was hotly debated but Councillors believed it should have a chance to be modified and  it will go to full council.

The awning at the new FOMO retail building on Kings Square received criticism from the City’s Design Advisory Committee, but Councillors agreed with Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly that the whole FOMO concept was about fun, impermanence, and transitional, and thus self-invigorating, and that the awning most likely would be replaced or modified to keep having a a visual attractor, and respond to the changing functions of the area.

Councillor Adin Lang needs to get his act together as he is embarrassing himself. He twice voted last night opposite from what he wanted to vote for and the Chair had to ask for the members to vote again, so that Lang could change his vote. This has happened before, so that is not good enough.

Councillor Lang unfairly makes himself look as if he is not the brightest light on a Christmas tree, but I believe it is either a lack of concentration by the young Councillor, or not doing his homework, and studying the agenda and attachments properly. He has been on Council for seven months, so he should understand process and procedure by now.

Roel Loopers

 

NIGHTINGALE PROJECT INFO SESSION TONIGHT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, community, Uncategorized by freoview on June 6, 2018

 

Nightingale

 

I am very disappointed that the community information session about the exciting Nightingale Project coincides with the City of Fremantle Planning Committee tonight. Did no one check the CoF website to see if any council meetings were on the agenda?

I can’t be at both events, so will have to go to North Fremantle to the Planning Committee at 6pm, that has a rather long agenda, so I  won’t be able to be in Wood Street at 7pm. That is a real shame as I am very interested in the Nightingale Project.

For those who want to attend, it is at 29 Wood Street, White Gum Valley.

Roel Loopers

 

ROYAL GEORGE HEIGHT A HUGE PROBLEM

 

Royal George 2

 

It will be an interesting Planning Committee session at the Town of East Fremantle tonight, with Council debating a Scheme Amendment for the historic Royal George Hotel site at Duke Street.

Saracen Properties have proposed a 21-storey building behind the heritage listed building, but that has received huge community criticism, as was to be expected.

There is not yet a planning proposal by Saracen at the Town of East Fremantle and the final decision authority is the WA JDAP, but the proposed Scheme Amendment to be discussed this evening is to only allow a seven-storey building that does not exceed 36 metres on the vacant part behind the former hotel.

Several public submissions even argued against a seven-storey building and want only 3-4 storeys behind the heritage building

Saracen made it clear during community consultation that they can’t spend millions of dollars on refurbishing the old Royal George unless they get considerable height allowance. A much lower building is not financially viable according to the proponents.

It is known that JDAP and SAT do overrule local government decisions, so even if Council tonight decide to approve the proposed Scheme Amendment Saracen might still put forward the 21-storey building at JDAP.

It would be an utter shame if nothing would happen again and if the Royal George remained a vacant and derelict eyesore for another ten years.

Roel Loopers

PROPOSED CHANGES TO WA PLANNING PROCESS

 

The WA Government has released its plans for changes to the planning process, stating that the present process is more about process than it is about quality outcomes.

The discussion paper that is now out for public comment focusses on five areas which I have copied and pasted here for Freo’s View readers:

1. Strategically-led

2. Legible

3. Transparent

4. Efficient

5. Delivering smart growth

  • The State Government, WAPC and local government to collaborate on the planning and delivery of key centres and infill locations and forward planning of infrastructure.
  • Develop a state planning policy focused on delivering consolidated and connected smart growth.
  • Provide for coordinated land use and transport planning of key urban corridors.

Key reform proposals

Make strategic planning the cornerstone of the planning system

  • Local governments to have up-to-date local planning strategies, including one for housing, through which the community has a say in how their neighbourhood will be developed.
  • Make strategic planning for sustainable development the purpose of planning in Western Australia.

Make the planning system easy to access and understand

  • A single concise State Planning Policy framework with common elements for State, regional and local plans and policies.
  • A comprehensive local planning scheme will be available online for each local government including a local planning strategy, the statutory scheme and local planning policies.
  • Reduce red tape by standardising commonly used zones.

Open up the planning system and increase community engagement in planning

  • A Community Engagement Charter with a focus on up-front community involvement in strategic planning.
  • Re-balance Development Assessment Panel processes including recording meetings, providing reasons for decisions, and undertaking more comprehensive investigation and consideration of complex proposals.
  • Local governments to report annually on their planning responsibilities.

Make the planning system well-organised and
more efficient

Refocus the planning system to deliver quality urban infill

  • Revise the WA Planning Commission (WAPC) to include 5-7 specialist members and increase their focus on strategic planning and policy development.
  • WAPC to delegate more statutory matters to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and accredited local governments.
  • Rethink administrative processes that add unnecessary time and cost to approvals processes.

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