Freo's View

BETTER URBAN INFILL VERY IMPORTANT

 

WA Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has released stage one of DESIGN WA, the guidelines to improve the quality of urban infill.

One of the most heard complaints in Fremantle and all over the suburbs is the mediocre design of most of the new residential apartment and other buildings in our character cities, but planning rules and even design advisory panels have had little impact on improving the architecture and streetscapes, this will hopefully now improve, depending on how strict and strong the new policy can be enforced by local councils, JDAP, SAT and the WAPC.

Rita Saffioti’s statements says:

Design WA includes clearly defined objectives about what future developments should consider, and includes it in the revised Residential Design Codes. Objectives include:

  • Appropriate scale to respect the local character and context;
  • Minimum apartment sizes based on floor space and number of rooms;
  • Safe, healthy environments with good natural light and ventilation;
  • Development that creates walkable neighbourhoods with high amenity;
  • Green space such as shady trees for outdoor spaces and mature tree retention; and
  • Development that enhances local neighbourhoods. 

The policy will come into affect soon, on May 24, 2019, so that is a good thing.

One thing I have been wondering about is why urban infill and medium/high density buildings are demanded in older suburbs by the State Government but not in brand-new suburbs which are developed near public transport corridors. That makes no sense to me.

Roel Loopers

FREO KINGS SQUARE REDEVELOPMENT UPDATE

 

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More large glass windows have been installed on the former Myer building at Kings Square that is being developed by Sirona Capital as part of the Kings Square Redevelopment Project. We are slowly getting an idea what it will look like.

PROBUILD is hard at work to finish the buildings on time for the opening around Christmas this year.

Roel Loopers

BUILDING CRANE IN FREO’S HISTORIC WEST END

Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on December 20, 2018

 

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It is rather unusual to see a big building crane going up in Fremantle’s historic West End, but this one was put together all day in Henry Street for the construction of the four-storey residential building on the former Fremantle Workers Club site.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE COUNCIL SITTING ON THE FENCE

Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 13, 2018

 

The illegal fences in the Fremantle suburb of Hilton are becoming as big as Donald Trump’s fence against the ‘illegal’ Mexicans.

Fremantle Council last night decided to sit on the fence regarding the applications to retrospectively approve two unauthorised fences in Hilton. Instead of approving or rejecting the application the majority of councillor voted for an amendment by Hilton councillor Jeff McDonald to review council’s fencing policy for the garden suburb.

I like it that councillor McDonald is trying to look after his fellow Hiltonites so well, but have to agree with councillor Andrew Sullivan that there is nothing wrong with the current policy and that council should not change policy every time it has to make a decision.

And to the person in the public gallery who called out “It’s democracy” Yep, mate. Councils make policies and local laws and you abide by them, so don’t build a fence without Council approval and then have a whinge about the unfairness of it all!

Councillor Jon Strachan’s said that council has many more important issues to address at present than reviewing a fence policy in just one suburb.

Only councillors Waltham, Strachan and Sullivan voted against the amendment.

Some thoughts about fences by people who are a lot more intelligent and creative than I am:

  • Creativity is the essence of fencing
  • Safety is fences, and fences are for sheep
  • If a person can build a fence around himself he is bound to do so
  • Good fences make good neighbours
  • It is absurd that we individualise ourselves with fences

But on a more serious note; I believe Fremantle Council probably should look at all fence policies because of urban infill, tiny and small houses, and subdivisions of suburban blocks where back fences become front fences.

The world is forever changing and so is good old Freo!

Roel Loopers

 

NO HIGHER DENSITY FOR QUARRY STREET?

 

The potential scheme amendment and zoning to R100 density for the properties at 7 and 9-15 Quarry Street in Fremantle is unlikely to proceed because of strong community objections to the idea.

The properties are owned by the City of Fremantle, which wants to sell them, but the community consultation showed that local residents are in favour of zoning the street for low-density R25 instead of medium-density R100.

Main concerns were the impact on the residential amenity of the streetscape, so the officers’ recommendation for this Wednesday Planning Committee is:

The report concludes that whilst there is planning merit in establishing a consistent zoning and suitable transitional density in this location, the complexity of developing mechanisms sufficient to address concerns raised to the satisfaction of the community, and the relatively modest increase in centre catchment/development yield likely to be achieved, does not warrant progressing the matter through all the stages of a formal scheme amendment process.

Roel Loopers

MORE AWARDS FOR FREMANTLE SLAVIN ARCHITECTS

Posted in architecture, awards, buildings, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on September 8, 2018

 

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My friends at North Fremantle SLAVIN ARCHITECTS are getting showered with awards for the very creative Mediterranean Shipping Company building in Cliff Street.

They just received the 2018 Australian Steel Industry Award for Small Projects, and already were awarded with the 2017 WA Architecture Awards – Winner – Colorbond Steel Award for Innovation in Steel, 2017 WA Architecture Awards – Commendation – Sustainability, 2017 WA Heritage Awards – Finalist – Conservation or Adaptive Re-use, 2018 Australian Steel Institute – Winner – Steel Excellence (Small Buildings), and also van Diddens painters received 2016 Master Painters Awards – Winner – Historical Restoration and the 2016 Master Painters Awards – Winner – Industrial and Protective Coatings.

Make sure to consider our excellent Fremantle architects for your next building projects!

Roel Loopers

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DEMOLITION OF FREO CIVIC CENTRE TO START SOON

 

Demolition of the City of Fremantle civic building at Kings Square will start next month, with preliminary work and asbestos removal by DELTA Pty Ltd. The demolition is estimated to be completed by October this year.

Vibration monitoring will be conducted to safeguard the integrity of the heritage listed Townhall and any demolition work immediately adjacent to the Townhall will be done by hand if required.

Daily air monitoring will also take place during asbestos removal by a third-party hygienist.

Roel Loopers

 

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SUNRISE IN FREO’S HISTORIC WEST END

 

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It was pretty chilly this morning at sunrise and a few passers by must have thought the bearded old fellow in short sleeves was suffering from dementia, but it was all for the sake of photography.

I so much love Fremantle’s historic High Street and the entire West End. It always looks gorgeous, but even more so at sunset and sunrise.

Roel Loopers

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GOOD ARCHITECTURE FOR FREMANTLE

 

South Street

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The long time eyesore on the corner of Hampton Road and South Street in Fremantle will be developed into a modern attractive four storey residential and office development, after the City of Fremantle’s Planning Committee last night approved the alternate officer’s recommendation.

The building is designed by David Hillam Architects and will have eight multiple dwellings and two office tenancies, and will retain a portion of the heritage buildings on the site.

It is nice to see good modern architecture which fits the Fremantle lifestyle. I just wished that developers of major large developments would take more care and get outstanding architectural design.

Roel Loopers

GOOD ENOUGH NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, city planning, development, Uncategorized by freoview on April 28, 2018

 

It is rather strange that the Fremantle Herald front page this week features a letter to the editor about JDAP rejecting the Woolstores shopping centre site development plans, instead of publishing an editorial about it.

There is little reason for the Fremantle Society president to gloat about the JDAP decision because it would not be in the interest of Fremantle if the development plans are abandoned. However Silverleaf Investments also need to be aware that second best and it’s good enough will not be accepted in Fremantle.

To realise Fremantle’s rejuvenation, that will hopefully kick start the economic recovery, we need development investors like the Match Group, Sirona Capital, Silverleaf, and others, but they know Fremantle Council is so desperate for new development that developers think that just about anything will be accepted.

The Fremantle Society during my presidency fought tooth and nail to stop PSA 49 but pressure from the then owners suddenly saw Council approve 11 storeys on the Woolstores site, when Mayor Brad Pettitt had only days before expressed he would not vote for double digit development, so nine storeys would be the maximum.

But PSA 49 was very clearly about only granting additional discretionary height if development was of excellent design quality, and the Woolstores plans, rejected by Fremantle Council and the WA Joint Development Assessment Panel-JDAP, clearly were not.

It appears that developers and architects still have not got the message that the Fremantle community demands creative and innovative design, and sadly Fremantle Council, JDAP and the State Administrative Tribunal also still have not got that point, as they have too often allowed mediocre development that is hurting Fremantle’s unique character. Council is so desperate to achieve rejuvenation of the inner city and economic recovery that it overlooked design flaws, out of fear of upsetting developers.

The new Sirona Capital buildings at Kings Square are not outstanding and neither is the planned and approved Hilton Doubletree hotel development on the Point Street carpark site. The LIV development along Queen Victoria Street is repetitive boredom and the Quarry Street side of it is architecturally so unresolved that it hurts my eyes and soul.

In the development pipeline are also the already approved very boring eight storey development next to the Australia Hotel and the equally uninspiring Little Lane development on the former Spotlight site next to Target.

I do get it that developers want to make as much money as they can and I don’t have a problem with that, but the JDAP rejection of the Woolstores proposal should send a clear message that if you want more money making floorspace and height you will need to offer Fremantle something special and unique.

Not only did Fremantle’s Design Advisory Committee expert panel express that the Woolstores design was not excellent, so did the three architects who spoke for the Fremantle Society, and other architects JDAP panel member Councillor Rachel Pemberton consulted had the same opinion.

I also talked to three well-known local architects in Fremantle who told me the composition and balance of the plans were all wrong and that piecemeal changes to the design would not lift it to the highest architectural standards required to receive the bonus height.

Fremantle wants and needs development. I love modern architecture and am not off the opinion that no new development in Fremantle should be above six storeys, but like most people in the community I want to see the wow factor when it comes to new buildings here.

It is very disappointing, and I agree here with the Fremantle Society president, that the Chamber of Commerce keeps supporting any development plans, no matter how inappropriate and uninspiring. For the Chamber the motto seems to be Any shit will do as long as it is new. I expect higher standards from our business leaders.

The rubbish that is often proposed might not do great harm in Cockburn or Joondalup but it would make Fremantle a lot less attractive to visitors from all over the world. The community will not accept that and developers, architects, Fremantle Council, JDAP and SAT should listen to us!

Roel Loopers

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