Freo's View

PROTECT FREO’S UNIQUE CHARACTER!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on February 24, 2018

 

The Fremantle Herald this week is full with opinions about how to protect Freo’s unique character when it comes to approving new development.

My old North Fremantle mate and former chair of the City’s planning committee Gerry MacGill says that Fremantle’s Councillors are struggling with the concept of exceptional architecture that grants developers discretionary additional height.

MacGill believes Council should not just rely on the opinion of the Design Advisory Panel but that the elected members are eminently qualified to make judgements on how the Woolstores development integrates with the surrounding streetscape and nearby buildings in regard to scale, massing and height.

I too found that at the special planning meeting Councillors and the Chair of the DAP were more concerned about small picture things and semantics like adding more bricks, than about the big picture; if the proposed building actually fits in well with the unique Fremantle character.

Also in the Chook is an opinion piece by architect Carl Payne, who often comments on Freo’s View.

Payne writes that the Manning Building approval shows that we only pay lip-service to heritage and that heritage protection is often not imposed if it affects the building’s owner.

The architect writes that the actions of Fremantle Councillors are not consistent with the Burra Charter heritage ideals and that compromises are made too easily to appease developers.

I am aware that a team from North Fremantle Slavin Architects also had a meeting with Mayor Brad Pettitt talking about their concerns about the often inappropriate architecture Council is approving in the CBD.

But there is more in the Herald with a full page advertisement by the Fremantle Society, which shows photos of buildings they believe ‘work’ and building which do not work. It comes as no surprise that there is not a single high building FS likes.

There is no doubt in my mind that Fremantle Council is bending over backward to accommodate development in Fremantle, and while I absolutely support the rejuvenation of the ugly east CBD Council needs to do a lot more to protect our city’s beauty. The architecture of the planned Woolstores development is not anywhere near good enough to consider it to be of exceptional quality, because it insufficiently addresses and respects Fremantle’s unique character. It’s not the height that worries me most, but the aesthetic incompetence.

Roel Loopers

FREO’S CHALLENGING TIME OF TRANSITION

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on February 23, 2018

 

The City of Fremantle, Sirona Capital and Probuild held an information sessions for CBD traders about the Kings Square Project on the balcony of the Federal Hotel yesterday evening.

The big news was the closure of Newman Court for safety reasons because the two building sites-Civic Centre and Queensgate/Myer are expanding and getting too close together to allow safe pedestrian passage between them.

That’s commons sense, but it will no doubt affect the few traders left in the Fremantle Mall. New signage will be placed around Kings Square to try to encourage pedestrians to keep using Fremantle Mall as a thoroughfare.

There will also be new parking signs installed and the naming of carparks and that is important with the imminent closure of the Queensgate carpark and the opening of the new Stan Reilly carpark by the end of March.

Some traders were talking compensation for loss of trade, but not many came up with new ideas about what they themselves could do to attract business from the hundreds of construction and demolition workers and that is disappointing.

They really need to reach out in new, creative and different ways to potential customers and accept that for the next two years it won’t be business as usual.

This is an exciting, but challenging, time of transition for Fremantle that will soon see our city prosper again with so much development on the way and much more in the pipeline and soon to start.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE TAKES BROADER VIEWS ON DEVELOPMENT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on February 22, 2018

 

The new City of Fremantle Strategic Planning and Transport Committee met for the first time last evening at the Townhall with only two items on the agenda; the Kings Square public realm concept plan and Local Planning Policy 2.21-R60.

I reported on the Kings Square plans earlier this week so just some details of the new development plans draft that was considered and adopted last night. The entire draft can be viewed on-line on the CoF website. Click on agendas and minutes and view the agenda there.

Here some considerations that stood out for me:

Under clause 4.2.5 of the City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 4 (LPS4), the residential density of sites in the Local Centre, Neighbourhood Centre and Mixed Use zones may be increased up to R60 where the development application:

  1. Proposes ‘mixed use development’ as defined in the City’s Scheme.
  2. Would not be detrimental to the amenity of an area.

A policy has been prepared to provide guidance on the criteria against which impact on amenity will be assessed under Clause 4.2.5 of LPS4 in order to provide greater certainty and consistency of decision-making, and promote better built form and community outcomes. The draft policy has the following key elements:

Recognise that mixed use zones and local/neighbourhood centres have potential to accommodate higher density and intensity, but within which new development should acknowledge and be respectful of existing / traditional development as part of a responsible evolution.

Stipulate that the deemed-to-comply standards (excluding site area) of the base density are acceptable as a starting point for R60 development.

Where the base code deemed-to-comply standards are not met, consider variations up to the R60 coding only where assessed to not be detrimental to the surrounding area based on a series of considerations as set out in the policy relating to the impact on amenity; including impact on streetscape, heritage character, neighbour amenity, traffic and safety, impact on trees and quality of the built environment.

Stipulate some specific requirements / expectations in regards to commonly contested aspects including that plot ratio in excess of the deemed-to-comply standard for R60 will not be supported.

Require a site context assessment to accompany any proposal seeking an increase in density beyond the base coding.

It should be noted that the clause seeks to avoid detrimental amenity to the area rather than to specific individual lots, which requires Council to take a broader view of impact than solely that of the neighbour/s. Similarly, the definition of amenity in the Planning Regulations defines this in relation to the character of an area. This does not, of course, preclude neighbour impacts from forming a key consideration in assessing amenity impacts. The reference to ‘future amenity’ allows for application of the definition in new development areas or areas subject to revitalisation schemes and the like.

Site analysis and design response: requiring the preparation of these to inform any proposal

Orientation: requiring proposals to “respond to the streetscape and site while optimising solar access within the development” and building form and orientation which “minimises overshadowing on neighbouring properties”

Existing tree retention: requiring mature trees on site (or are clearly identifiable on site through aerial images from the last 5 years) for retention or replacement or offset Deep soil areas (12% of site where no trees retained): to support healthy plant and tree growth, and provision of trees proportionate to the size of the site

Communal and public open space: where more than 10 dwellings are proposed

Visual privacy: including a ‘cone of vision’ similar to that specified under the R-Codes (albeit lesser) and a minimum of 25% of the perimeter of balconies unscreened, and a requirement to site and design development to “increase privacy without compromising access to light and air and balance outlook and views from habitable rooms and private open space”

Public domain interface: considering CEPTED principles and promoting a functional and pleasing interface with the street which makes provision for services, landscaping of terraces and excludes parking

Pedestrian access and entries: which requires safe and ‘legible’ entries to buildings

Vehicle access points: requiring these to be designed and located to minimise streetscape impacts whilst avoiding conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles

Car and bicycle parking: to be provided at specified rates and designed to be functional but minimise visual impact

 

Roel Loopers

 

 

COURT OF APPEAL RULES AGAINST JDAP

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on February 21, 2018

 

DEFENDING PUBLIC SPACES WA has just posted the outcome of a court case on Facebook that is significant to other communities, such as Fremantle, where significant urban infill is happening. Here the essential part of the media release:

Once again two individual rate payers have won their bid in the WA Court of Appeal to correct errors made by a Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) in Western Australia. Karyl Nairn and Ric Hawley succeeded today in overturning another erroneous decision by a JDAP to approve a non-compliant planning application for the site at 74 Mill Point Road in South Perth’s Peninsula.

The WA Court of Appeal today (20/02/2018) issued its judgment in respect of planning approval granted last year at 74 Mill Point Road for a 34 storey tower block. The development application by Edge Developments was strongly opposed by local residents, including on the two grounds which the Court of Appeal has upheld and which a majority of members of the JDAP ignored.

The Court found that the JDAP misapprehended or disregarded the limits of its function under the scheme and took into account an irrelevant consideration. Importantly, the Court also held that the JDAP was wrong to rely on its own previous unlawful approvals of other very high towers in South Perth as a justification for approving new high rise developments.

Consequently, the JDAP exceeded its jurisdiction and the Court quashed its approval.

FREO KINGS SQUARE DEMOLITION STARTED

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, retail, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on February 19, 2018

 

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So good to see walls and roofs coming down on the Queensgate building at Fremantle’s Kings Square.

A huge crane in Henderson Street was lifting four portable offices  for PROBUILD onto the roof of the car park, while inside heavy machinery was demolishing the Queensgate building.

The long awaited new development by Sirona Capital will see the all new FOMO retail concept at Kings Square in less than two years.

Roel Loopers

INTEGRITY OF FREO’S VIEW ABOVE ALL

Posted in city of fremantle, development, hospitality, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on February 19, 2018

 

A comment to this blog accused me of receiving kick-backs from the MATCH Group because I published a post yesterday about their new development in South Fremantle.

I have previously also reported on Match’s Heirloom and Energy Museum developments, as I have reported the development plans of Silverleaf Investments, Sirona Capital and others.

Fact is that I try to report on anything that happens in Fremantle, be that development, the opening of new shops, bars, cafes, art exhibitions, events and concerts, etc. that are happening. If I know about it I will report it. It’s as simple as that.

I do the same on Facebook and Trip Advisor and try to support local traders, but I have never asked for, expected, or received payment from businesses I have reported about.

I do not get free coffees or meals in cafes, free tickets to events, or brown paper bags filled with cash from developers.

My own integrity and the integrity of this blog is extremely important to me, that’s why you don’t see advertising on Freo’s View, although God knows how much I could do with some additional income above the meagre $ 730 a fortnight old age pension I receive.

Roel Loopers

PUBLIC REALM DESIGN FOR KINGS SQUARE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on February 19, 2018

 

An officers’ Public Realm Concept Design Plan for Kings Square will be presented to the Strategic Planning and Transport Committee of Fremantle Council this Wednesday at the Townhall at 7pm.

The next stage will then be to produce a sequencing plan for budgeting, phasing, delivery of the project and the start of design development.

It is deemed important to manage and curate activation of the future Kings Square public spaces to ensure they are vibrant, activated and often changing.

The Windows of the Past concept would created windows in the pavement to look down into the recent archeological findings and limestone foundations of the former St John’s church.

The overall budget for improvements to the Kings Square public realm are estimated to be $ 8 million, which has already been captured in the ten year financial plan.

Below some highlights from the agenda:

  •   Re-energise Kings Square and create a destination for people.
  •   Respect the history and cultural significance of the place.
  •   Integrate the various projects that are currently underway.
  •   Create a place that is welcoming, safe and attractive to all.
  •   Deliver a high quality urban space that is civic, resilient and sustainable.
  •   Ensure the project remains strategically aligned with other plans and strategies for the  city.

    In response to feedback on the draft plan, the following changes/proposals have been made to the Kings Square Public Realm Concept Plan:

    1. URBAN FOREST: Addition of one extra shade tree in the main Civic Space to provide improved amenity and further reinforce the mini ‘urban forest’ concept. This will be achieved through the relocation of an additional mature tree from within Kings Square.
    2. NEWMAN COURT: Set-down/pick-up bays in Newman Court have been removed from draft concept to enable full pedestrianisation to occur in Newman Court for specific times of day/week (yet to be determined). A loading zone remains in the concept – this may be time restricted to occur ‘out of hours’ to minimise impact on the future pedestrianised character of the street.
    3. KERBSIDE USES: Minor adjustments have been made to the draft plan to improve the overall functionality and balance between competing needs in the square:
      • –  new coach/tourist set-down/pick-up bays in William and Queen Streets;
      • –  CAT bus stop introduced to Queen Street;
      • –  a loading zone in Queen Street moved around the corner into Adelaide Street;
      • –  3 ACROD bays (instead of 5 general bays for people with mobility needs);
      • –  4 general parking bays in Queen Street converted to set-down/pick-up bays;
      • –  Minor adjustments to locations for motorcycle parking.
    4. STREET TREES: Two additional street trees have been included in Queen Street, near the proposed CAT bus stop. The preferred tree species for planting around the perimeter of the square is the Jacaranda, subject to availability of suitable stock.
    1. ROUNDABOUTS:Replacementofthetwomini-roundaboutsinQueenStreetwith pedestrian-friendly raised road platforms – extending the urban design detailing of Kings Square. (These elements are still subject to further traffic modelling and confirmation that bicycle route integration will be legible, convenient and safe.)
    2. CHILDRENS PLAY SPACE:Development and integration of the schematic playspace design into the overall concept for the square, noting that further refinement will be guided by safety audits (especially with regard to the close proximity of Queen Street).

 

Roel Loopers

NEW SOUTH FREMANTLE APARTMENT DEVELOPMENT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, property, real estate, Uncategorized by freoview on February 18, 2018

 

 

Preparations are now under way for the three storey residential and commercial M/28 development on the corner of South Terrace and Charles Street.

The new building developed by the MATCH group will be opposite the The Local hotel in South Fremantle and will add to the vibrancy of South Freo.

 

Roel Loopers

COME ON SILVERLEAF. PUT A GARDEN ON THE WOOLSTORES DEVELOPMENT!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on February 14, 2018

 

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What a coincidence to just see an article on Facebook about a rooftop garden on a Melbourne shopping centre, when I only yesterday talked with North Fremantle architect Murray Slavin about the opportunity lost to do something similar with the proposed Woolstores shopping centre development in Fremantle.

Besides the poor design qualities of the proposed development, Murray and I both lamented that a rooftop garden for residents and hotel guests on top of the four-storey carpark had not been included in the development, as that would lift it to another level.

I also sugested that to indicate the bulk of a woolstores the two towers of the development could be linked at the top with massive steel beams, so that there is an impression of bulk, but it does not fill up the space above the carpark.

Unfortunately we are getting very conservative and rather boring new development in Fremantle and that is partly to blame on a council that is so keen on economic recovery that it is willing to compromise far too easily on the beauty and aesthetics of new buildings.

Fremantle is unique and that unique character needs to be acknowledged with creative and outstanding design!

Roel Loopers

TEMPORARY QUEENSGATE PARKING CLOSURE

Posted in cars, city of fremantle, development, kings square, parking, Uncategorized by freoview on February 14, 2018

 

 

PROBUILD the builders for the Fremantle Kings Square Project have had a change of mind on how to proceed and the Queensgate carpark will now be closed for approximately four months straight after the Easter long weekend and Street Arts Festival.

After extensive structural testing of the concrete and steel reinforcement by the builders and specialist consultants for Sirona Capital it was decided that the work to remediate and protect the building is a lot more extensive than anticipated.

Removing redundant and corroded steelwork and applying protective poxy coatings will stop further degradation of the building, that also needs modern bigger lifts and improved accessibility, better lighting and security and modern equipment.

The closure is in the interest of public safety and the safety of workers.

A little compensation is the soon to open new carpark at the former Stan Reilly site which will offer 155 car bays in the city centre, plus the additional new street level parking next to the Point Street carpark.

As the old saying goes, there is no gain without pain.

There has been the perception of parking problems in Fremantle, but that ignores the fact that the multi-storey carparks in Fremantle are hardly used on weekdays, as I noticed again yesterday afternoon at 3.30 pm when Queensgate was almost empty.

There are over 5,000 car bays in Fremantle and there is one-hour free parking and all day parking for as little as $ 8.00 per day.

Residents with a permit can park for free before 11am and again after 3pm.

The only parking problem Fremantle has is on weekends of events and festivals when Freo is packed full with visitors, and that motorists want to park on the street straight in front of their destination, and that is an unrealistic expectation.

The carparks along Mews Road just across the railway line also have plenty of vacanct bays.

Roel Loopers

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