Freo's View

FREO CITY PAYS DOCKERS $ 1.5 MILLION FOR OVAL

Posted in city of fremantle, development, heritage by freoview on February 24, 2017

The City of Fremantle will pay the Fremantle Dockers $ 1,5 million over three years for the football club’s administration building and for them to relinquish the lease over Fremantle Oval.

This is a very good outcome for Fremantle as the Dockers initially wanted over $ 9 million and up till two weeks ago a sum of $ 4 million was still on the cards.

It means the City can now continue with its Fremantle Oval development plans and also temporarily move staff there while the new Civic Centre is built at Kings Square.

The development of the precinct south of Kings Square is a very important one, so interesting to hear that Fremantle developers Silverleaf, who bought the former  Court and Police complex at Henderson Street, have also acquired all the Warders Cottages east of William Street, so expect a development there in a few years time.

Roel Loopers

COUNCIL TO REJECT NEW NOTRE DAME BUILDING

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, notre dame university by freoview on February 18, 2017

unda-building-from-corner-copy

 

As expected the ‘Officers Recommendation’ to Fremantle Council for the proposed 5-storey building in High Street by Notre Dame University is for Council to reject it. The item will go to Council this Wednesday at 6 pm.

The decision-making authority is the state’s Joint Development Assessment Panel, but that will take Fremantle Council’s recommendation into consideration.

I was initially very irate about the UNDA proposal because I was very disappointed that the two community sessions had not changed anything, so as someone very passionate about Freo’s heritage I wrote a few things about the university I now regret, but my strong opposition to this inappropriate building has not disappeared.

I am a fan and strong supporter of Notre Dame University and believe they are good for the West End where many cafes would not survive without the patronage of 8000+ UNDA students and staff, but UNDA needs to be realistic and pragmatic about the development proposal for 3 High Street.

After reading the opinions of CoF planning and heritage staff and the Design Advisory Commission it becomes clear that the UNDA architects tried hard to accommodate the DAC wishes, while also trying to retain as much floor space as possible and that is the problem.

Fact is that the floor space UNDA needs for its School of Nursing can’t be achieved on that site without disregarding planning and heritage considerations, so it is not a realistic proposition to build something of that volume at the proposed site.

What UNDA now needs to do, after JDAP will also reject the development proposal, is to find an alternative location for a five-storey building, one where they might not even want to include a theatre space, thus giving them more floor space to use for education only and not a public community space.

The corner of Cliff and High streets is ideally suited for an iconic three-storey building, but unfortunately for Notre Dame it is unsuitable for a five-storey building and for the boring design that shows very little respect for the significant historic West End and the great heritage architecture in the area.

I intend to address Council on Wednesday to voice my opposition to the proposal, although I am a big fan of UNDA and its outstanding Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond, senior staff and the many lecturers I know. UNDA is good for Freo but the proposed building is bad for the West End and that’s why it needs to be rejected.

Roel Loopers

STOP NOTRE DAME UNI MONSTROSITY !

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, notre dame university by freoview on February 15, 2017

unda-high-street

 

The awfully mediocre development proposal for a five-storey building on the corner of High and Cliff streets by Notre Dame University will go to Fremantle Council on February 22, so please do turn up in big numbers and voice your opposition to this disrespectful rubbish that totally ignores the extremely historic significance of the heritage-listed West End!

Here the info from the City of Fremantle:

Address: 3 High Street, FREMANTLE WA 6160
Application: Five (5) storey Educational Establishment, Shop and Small Bar

Please be advised that an item relating to the above application will be considered at the Council meeting to be held on Wednesday 22 February 2017 commencing at 6.00 pm.

An opportunity to address the Council on the proposal is given during ‘Public Question Time’ only and is limited to a maximum of three minutes. You must register to speak at the venue, before 5.50pm on the day of the meeting.

The council chambers are located on the first floor of the council offices at 8 William Street, Fremantle. Access to the council chambers is via the stairs located next to the children’s playground on the eastern side of the building.

After the proposal is considered by Council, the application will be determined by the Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP). The date of the JDAP meeting is not known at this time however is usually 1-2 weeks after the Council meeting.

Please check the JDAP website for the date, time and venue (the venue may not be the in the City of Fremantle). Should you wish to speak at the JDAP meeting, please complete a “Presentation Request Form” which must be submitted no less than 72 hours before the meeting.

Copies of the agenda, including the report and any attachments for the abovementioned item, are available for viewing from the Friday afternoon prior to the meeting. The agenda may be downloaded from the website at http://www.fremantle.wa.gov.au or can be viewed at the City Library located on the ground floor of the council offices during normal library hours. Library hours are available on the website. In the instance that you can’t access the information on the City’s website hard copies of the plans can be requested by emailing planning@fremantle.wa.gov.au with your request.

NATURE PLAYGROUND FOR KINGS SQUARE

Posted in children, city of fremantle, development by freoview on February 12, 2017

The City of Fremantle is planning a nationwide competition for the design of a nature playground at Kings Square as part of the Kings Square Project development.

The area allocated would be to the east of the St John’s church, on land owned by the church, and close to the new cafe that will be part of the new Civic Centre and Library at Kings Square.

It is estimated the design and construction of the playground will cost $ 500,000.00.

A jury which would have members of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, CoF  Design Advisory Committee and Fremantle City officers would decide on the winning submission for the project.

Roel Loopers

FORGETTABLE ARCHITECTURE SUCKS ESSENCE OUT OF WEST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage by freoview on February 10, 2017

North Fremantle architect Murray Slavin has written an excellent Thinking Allowed in the Fremantle Herald today about the quality of architecture in Fremantle’s heritage West End.

Slavin Architects designed the stunning heritage of the future Mediterranean Shipping Company building in Cliff Street that connects to the old Wilhelmsen building on the corner of Phillimore Street.

Slavin writes that the proposed five-storey Notre Dame University building for the corner of High and Cliff streets needs a rethink, as I have suggested a few times on Freo’s View.

He says that “A clear and present danger is that the West End will become characterised by the lowest common denominator architecture” and that the historic area should not be “dumbed down to a forgettable architecture form that sucks the essence out of its neighbourhood.” Hear, hear!!

Murray Slavin states that it is time to live up to community expectations with a clear understanding of Fremantle’s social and physical context.

“Many buildings appearing in the West End could be from any Australian city” and show little respect for the historic buildings around them, the North Freo architect writes.

Make sure to get a copy of the Freo Chook and read the entire article and many other good ones in this week’s issue.

The deadline for submissions against the in my opinion totally inappropriate building proposal by Notre Dame is February 13, so email your opposition to it to the City of Fremantle NOW. Go to the CoF website for a submission form!

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE OVAL DEAL GOOD FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, local government by freoview on February 7, 2017

Although no formal agreement has been reached between the Fremantle Dockers and the City of Fremantle indications are that it could be a good deal for Fremantle.

Delegated authority is with the CoF CEO and the Fremantle Football Club board will only meet on the 22nd to sign off on the deal, so we are still a few weeks away from knowing for sure if the Dockers will relinquish the long-term lease of Fremantle Oval when they move to Cockburn in April.

My understanding is that the initial demand of $ 7.9 million for the clubhouse has come down considerably and well under $ 4 million, to the point where it actually becomes a pretty good financial solution for the City, and it will avoid a long and costly drawn-out legal battle.

Since the City will  temporarily have to move from Kings Square for at least two years for the development of the new civic building, the opportunity for City staff to move into the Dockers clubhouse seems better than leasing commercial space that might cost up to 4 million over two years.

It will also help to initially rehouse the East Fremantle Football Club until the redevelopment of the Stan Reilly site and Fremantle Oval project start.

It looks like a win-win for all but let’s wait for the fine prints.

Roel Loopers

 

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DOCKERS TO HAND BACK FREMANTLE OVAL TO CITY

Posted in city of fremantle, development, dockers by freoview on February 7, 2017

The City of Fremantle has issued a media release to announce that the CoF is close to signing an agreement with the Fremantle Football Club for the hand-back of Fremantle Oval to the City.

Details of the agreement will be made public once the contract is signed, so it is still not clear if the Dockers will insist on getting a 4 million dollar pay-out to relinquish the long-term lease they have for the oval.

With the Dockers AFL women’s team playing at the oval this weekend and the urgent need for reducing concerts and events on the Esplanade, it is very good news Freo City will now manage the venue and can get started on the Fremantle Oval precinct redevelopment.

Roel Loopers

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SIX MONTHS TO FREO WOOLSTORES DEVELOPMENT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development by freoview on February 6, 2017

 

Word at the Fremantle  Woolstores shopping centre is that development of the site will start in six months, so I am keen to see plans for the development.

There has not been public consultation yet about the plans but I hear the developers are quite frustrated getting knocked back at the Design Advisory Committee of the City of Fremantle.

It is going to be a huge and very high development so it is essential for the CoF to stay firm and for developers Silverleaf to be patient because it is essential that we are getting outstanding architecture in the inner city.

Just over the road at the Point Street carpark site there are still no signs the Hilton Doubletree hotel development will get under way any time soon, although they need to get started in the first quarter of this year. Hurry up please because the vacant site is an eyesore.

That makes me question why developers are allowed to demolish buildings when they do not have a commencement date for development. The shops were used as pop-ups and at least created some activity in the area and looked a whole lot better than the Adelaide desert we now have to look at.

Roel Loopers

HIGH DENSITY NOT THE SOLUTION

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, planning by freoview on February 5, 2017

I have a lot of respect for the opinion of architect and urban planner Dr Linley Lutton, who used to be on the City of Fremantle’s Design Advisory Committee until he resigned from it, so I was very interested to read Lutton’s article about infill and density in the POST community newspapers.

Dr Lutton argues that the WA government push for higher density and infill is not working and is outdated and that apartments are the least preferred living options in Perth. He also writes that apartments can’t be adapted and are not family friendly, but that the biggest housing demand by 2031 will be for families and not singles and couples.

The random erection of ugly and big buildings in town centres also worries the city planner and he writes that it is not true that Perth is more low density than other capital cities. In fact we are at similar levels of density as Canberra, Adelaide and Brisbane and not far from that in Melbourne.

While high density is often pushed in older character suburbs it is hard to understand why the WA State Government does not insist on higher density in new suburbs where people are still mainly building one and two storey houses and no apartment blocks or town houses.

The urban myth that people are abandoning their cars is also not supported by facts with tens of thousands abandoning public transport even when they live near public transport, according to government figures.

Linley Lutton says that higher density apartment living can work well, but planners need to take into account that ‘culturally rich street life’ and work opportunities are essential for successful highrise living.

As I and others have often argued the success of city planning and new development is dependent on understanding what the community wants and needs. There is a need for better and more intense collaboration between planning experts and the community, starting as early as possible in the process, so that community opinion is not being dismissed as negative, reactive, NIMBY and anti-development.

I am personally very happy that so much new development is happening in Fremantle and much more planned, but we need to actively discourage ugly, boring, mediocre new buildings ‘designed’ by lazy architects who have no respect for Fremantle’s unique character.

While the urban sprawl is not sustainable the indiscriminate infill targets for older character suburbs also lack reality and need to be reconsidered.

Roel Loopers

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LIV DEVELOPMENT REACHES FOR THE SKY

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development by freoview on February 4, 2017

liv

 

A big crane is going up this Saturday at the six-storey LIV Defence Housing apartment project at Queen Victoria Street.

This is a significant milestone for Fremantle and one we should not underestimate.

There are people, like I, who are not impressed with a lot of the new architecture developers propose for Fremantle, and there are those, including myself, who believe a lot of the design of new buildings here is uninspiring, uninspired and mediocre.

But not withstanding that the historic and economic significance of all the new development in Fremantle should give us all hope for a more exciting and vibrant future for our city.

Roel Loopers

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