Freo's View

LIFESTYLE PROTECTION FOR FREO’S EAST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on September 5, 2017

 

 

Freo’s View reader David, who lives in the East End of the Fremantle CBD, commented that my letter in the West Australian last week indicated I had an anything goes attitude to that part of the city, as far as development is concerned, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I strongly believe the entire inner city demands excellent buildings that respect the unique heritage character of Fremantle, and I have expressed this many times here on the blog and in verbal and written submissions to Council.

While there is huge development potential, considerations needs to be given to the heritage buildings and streetscapes in the East End of town, where we have the beautiful Victoria Hall, Basilica, Boy’s School, Railway Station, etc.

And I believe that we need to protect the lifestyle of inner city residents, and Council needs to manage it better.

I objected to the architectural blandness of the Hilton Doubletree hotel, the proposed boring development between the Australia Hotel and St Patrick’s, and the mediocrity of the eight-story Spotlight site development.

When Defence Housing showed their initial plans at Kings Square for the six-storey LIV development at Queen Victoria Street, I suggested to one of the architects that the facade was far too long and needed to be broken up, which was met with a what would you know stare from the tall expert.

It was interesting then to read comments by the City’s Design Advisory Committee a few months later, who recommended exactly what I had done, that the facade needed to be split up. This has now been done with a large gap that creates a community piazza all the way to Quarry Street, but it should have been more with more attention to detail.

I would still have liked to see stronger vertical features on the LIV building, that would juxtaposed more with the majestic verticality of the Heirloom building opposite it.

The Fremantle Society fought under my presidency very hard against Planning Scheme Amendment 49 and the inappropriate height in some of the 13 locations. We had a scale model in the Adelaide Piazza and Woolstores to show the public what would happen, but it was to no avail and now the Woolstores shopping centre site could go up as high as eleven storeys.

The major problem I see with bureaucrats having a broad-brush approach to an area is that it stifles architectural excellence. In the right location and with great design, a cupola feature or something alike on a higher building might well look much better, even when it is a few metres higher than the planning scheme allows.

I don’t have a general objection to height in the east of the Fremantle CBD and believe it should all depend on how creative a building is and how it enhances the spatial amenity and streetscape.

For example the six-storey building on the corner of Cantonment and Parry Street, opposite the Australia Hotel, is good Freo human scale for me, because it has very attractive features, round corners and some tower like structures, instead of a boring flat roof. It does not appear to be too high because of that, but a square boring concrete box of the same height might well have been inappropriate and look too big for that corner site.

The issues with flexibility of course is that it would be very hard for planning departments to work with, developers would try to take advantage, and JDAP and SAT could allow inappropriate buildings because there is no planning scheme that disallows them. That is a big dilemma.

As it stands, the rules and regulations more often than not restrict creative design, because the attitude is that you can’t have a 2-4 metre feature sticking out above the allowed height. Somehow we need to get around that, so that we’ll get more excellent architecture in Fremantle.

Let’s have a symposium about what desirable design for Freo would be, and not just focus on height.

Roel Loopers

POSITIVE FUTURE FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on September 1, 2017

 

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The ceremonial start of the Fremantle Kings Square Project development by Sirona Capital was held this Friday morning, with WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt, Housing Minister Peter Tinley, Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and Sirona Managing Director Matthew McNeilly.

The electronic and print media also turned up en-masse, and Minister for Women Simone McGurk, Federal MP Josh Wilson, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Olwyn Williams, attended, as did many Freo councillors and staff.

A special mention should go to former City of Fremantle CEO Graeme McKenzie, who did a lot of the hard work and preparations for this game-changing project. Nice to see him present!

The $ 270 millions project will deliver 25,800sqm of new commercial office and retail space, plus a new civic centre for the City. This is the largest infrastructure project in Fremantle’s history!

More than 1,00 fulltime workers will be working in the construction of the project.

Once completed Kings Square will have more than 2,000 people working there, which represents a 13% boost in the number of workers in the Fremantle CBD.

Sirona’s Matthew McNeilly said the development was an indication of Fremantle Council’s courage and desire to revitalise the city.

I am personally delighted that this huge project is finally under way, after so many years of waiting and hoping.

Those who believe that this project will not have a massive positive impact on Fremantle should stay in bed and contemplate their miserable negative existence. : >)

Roel Loopers

FREO FANTASTIC FUTURE FOCUS

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, Uncategorized by freoview on August 31, 2017

 

 

The fence maze at Fremantle’s Kings Square already looks a whole lot better with the promo wording on it.

Also good to see BID putting signs up so people know where to park during the construction, and the City of Fremantle will also put up wayfinding signs in the area.

In this context I sent the letter below to the West Australia in response to an article they published today about the former Subiaco market site:

As a Fremantle resident I find Gareth Parker’s opinion piece on the development plans for the Subiaco Market, and the opposition by its council very interesting.

While 16 storeys for the market site are probably excessive, it is important that councils do find a middle ground to assist urban infill.

In contrast to Subiaco the Fremantle Council has actively promoted Fremantle as a pro development destination over the last eight years. That has now resulted in unprecedented development in our port city for forty years.

The Kings Square Project that starts this month is the biggest development ever seen in Fremantle, and the Woolstores shopping centre site will also soon be developed into a nine storey hotel, student accommodation and commercial spaces.

Not all development we are getting in Freo is outstanding, but at least most of it is in the run down east of the inner city and does not severely impact on the heritage character of the West End.

Fremantle, like Subiaco, had been stagnant for years, our traders are struggling and there are too many shop vacancies, but that will all be turned around through massive development and more people living and working in the CBD, and more tourists being able to stay overnight in new hotels.

Future focussed planning is essential and where Subi Council failed Fremantle Council excelled. There are lessons to be learned here for other councils.

 

Roel Loopers

HOW DESIRABLE IS URBAN INFILL?

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on August 30, 2017

 

Fremantle LIV Defence Housing apartment development seen from Quarry Street.

 

There is an interesting article about urban infill in the West Australian today by the president of the Property Council of WA Tanya Trevisan.

Trevisan reports and reflects on a recent collaborative study by the PCA, Curtin University and CODA architects.

The study found that if the state’s infill target was increased from 47 per cent to 60 per cent, WA could save $ 23 billion by 2050.

According to the report supplying infrastructure to greenfield development costs up to three times more than urban infill development.

Tanya Trevisan argues that urban infill, when done well, offers balanced and diversity of housing. She writes that infill creates stronger communities and maximises the effectiveness of existing infill.

There is no doubt for me that the Perth urban sprawl is not sustainable and the Great Australian Dream of one’s own house with front and back garden can’t be sustained in our fast-growing city.

However, due to the mining bust, thousands of people have left the state, and fewer move or migrate to W.A. so our need for extensive residential development is also diminishing for the time being.

There have been serious social issues around the world with high-density living, so not all is good.

I believe there is also the need for new public transport nodes outside the inner character cities, because inner city living is often too expensive for those on lower income, students, etc. Building medium to high density in some outer pockets, where good public transport is provided, is essential as we can’t just stuff our unique centres with large concrete boxes, and destroy their character.

Tomorrow evening at 5.30 there is a Housing Forum at the Moore&Moore cafe in Freo’s Henry Street, so check it out!

 

Roel Loopers

KINGS SQUARE DISPLAY AT TOWNHALL

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on August 23, 2017

 

 

Hello boys and girls, this is your uncle Roelie, the regular provider of fake Freo news, the new council spin doctor(sorry Jason and Paul!), and the election campaign manager for Bradman for the Entire Universe and Beyond, according to a Fakebook page.

Uncle Roelie went to the Fremantle Townhall to check out the displays about the Kings Square Project development. Not that he really needed it, because he has been involved in it from the very first start and community consultation.

Your old senile uncle, who can’t get his facts right, met the Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly at the first walk around the area to look at connectivity, sightlines, etc. and went to every Kings Square session after that, including the citizenship jury.

But unlike others, I believe it is not good to be ingnorant, and that one should be informed and have the facts before one makes comments, so hence my visit to the beautiful Townhall to see if I could update my knowledge.

Mayor Brad Pettitt and Sirona’s Matthew McNeilly were there, and I saw Councillor Jon Strachan and his partner Cathy Hall, and Beacy election candidate Fedele Camarda was also there, as was developer Bruce Moriarty.

A comment I read, claiming that this Council had not achieved much in the last eight years is not based on facts, yet again. Fremantle has got unprecedented development happening and in the pipeline, that we have not seen in the port city in forty years.

If the Barnett State Government had earlier committed to the Department of Housing moving to Fremantle, the Kings Square development could have been ready by now.

But boys and girls, it’s always easier to blame council rather than dealing with facts. As for Uncle Roelie, he’ll be at the Fremantle Council ordinary meeting tonight to make sure he knows what he’s talking about.

Good night boys and girls. Sleep well!

 

Roel Loopers

 

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KINGS SQUARE PROJECT INFO AT TOWNHALL

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

 

Kings Square

 

If you want to know more about the Fremantle KINGS SQUARE PROJECT head to the Townhall on Wednesday-tomorrow!

From 11 am to 2 pm there will be information boards inside the atrium to have a look at and I assume there will be people there you can have a chat with.

The Visitor Centre will be relocated during the construction of the new Civic Centre and will be in front of the Townhall close to the High Street Mall.

 

Roel Loopers

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NO LUNATIC ARCHITECTURE FOR HISTORIC WEST END!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on August 7, 2017

 

 

The lunatic development proposal for five storey buildings at 2 Henry and 7 Pakenham Street in Fremantle’s heritage West End Precinct will be deliberated at the W.A. Joint Development Assessment Panel(JDAP) this Wednesday August 9 at 10am at the Townhall. (Enter from the backstairs near the former Myer building).

Anton Capital and Hassel Architects show very little consideration for the unique heritage aspects and streetscapes of the historic West End, and hence the State Heritage Office recommended the refusal of the development, as did Fremantle Council unanimously.

The last thing we want to see in the West End is oversized boring concrete boxes, but that is all the architects could come up with. That is very disrespectful, arrogant and inconsiderate.

The City of Fremantle  and W.A. State agencies need to take a strong stand agains totally inappropriate development proposals for Freo’s gorgeous West End.

These applications are a total waste of time for the City’s planning department and for JDAP, Heritage Office, Planning Commission, etc. as they are un-approvable!

 

Roel Loopers

 

MODERN AND HIGH NEW FREO WOOLSTORES DEVELOPMENT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, silverleaf, Uncategorized by freoview on August 2, 2017

 

Woolstores design

 

Here a first look at the proposed development for the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre site in Cantonment Street that will house an Adani Hotel.

It will be developed by Fremantle developers Silverleaf.  According to a talk Silverleaf boss Gerard O’Brien gave at the Fremantle Network a few months ago, it will also have much needed student housing.

The site is one of 13 Fremantle CBD sites included in Planning Scheme Amendment 49. which allows for it to have up to 11 storeys, which will make it the tallest building in the city.

It is not an outstanding building, but much better than the provincial country town look of the existing building. It would be the first of the inner East sites to be developed just after the start of the Kings Square Project.  The Hilton Doubletree Hotel development at Point Street has been pushed back by two years.

Silverleaf’s Gerard O’Brien said they would keep the Coles supermarket open during construction to retain activity in the area.

This development only needs WA Joint Development Assessment Panel approval, but will be debated at a City of Fremantle Planning Committee soon, where we will be able to see more detailed plans..

 

Roel Loopers

GREAT ARCHITECTURE STRESS RELIEF

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on July 27, 2017

 

After Fremantle Council last night rejected the awful development proposal for the historic West End, the newsletter of HAMES SHARLEY Architects comes timely today, to remind us that good architecture can help us de-stress.

The article by Peter Kempshall refers to research by the University of Warwick, that concluded that while green space is very important in the urban environment, aesthetically pleasing buildings are also a boost to our mental wellbeing.

Senior Associate Rachel Seal of Hames Sharley said that “There is no reason why an urban environment can’t have the same qualities to reduce stress as a natural one.”

If we can create urban green spaces framed by beautiful and site responsive architecture and marry the two elements together, all the better.”

“It’s that kind of mix that really makes the city cohesive, right down to the micro level of interior design. Design is concerned with the experience from both inside and outside buildings.

I wished more architects would consider these thoughts, because cheap and cheerful concrete boxes will hardly ever have the visual impact that great creative design does have.

Spatial respect for streetscapes, history and lifestyle of place should be top priorities when designing for character suburbs and places of historic significance, such as Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

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ATTACK ON FREO’S HISTORIC WEST END STOPPED

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on July 27, 2017

 

Pakenham Street development proposal

 

I am delighted that Fremantle Council last night unanimously rejected the application for three five-storey buildings in Fremantle’s West End.

The three buildings would have been built from the Customs House on the corner of Henry and Phillimore Street all the way to Pakenham Street and would have destroyed the West End forever and set a precedent for future massive buildings.

Not only did our Councillors reject the application but the State Heritage Office also recommended its refusal.

Councillor Bryn Jones said that the reasons for the refusal are very comprehensive and it would have been the end of the West End as we know it.

Councillor Andrew Sullivan said the development was significantly out of order and that the permanent state heritage listing of the West End was a game changer that would have an impact on how the State’s Joined Development Assessment Panel(JDAP) would rule on future applications for the historic area.

Councillor Jones said that JDAP cannot approve a development when the State Heritage Office recommend it to be rejected.

There is incredible arrogance by architects trying to get five-storey buildings in the West End, when the planning scheme only allows for three storeys, with a possible discretionary additional storey for outstanding architecture or heritage preservation.

The proposed buildings show absolute disrespect for the heritage significance of the beautiful West End and are very basic, boring, mediocre TBL(tripple bottom line) boxes that would do nothing to enhance the area.

The attack by developers on the West End needs to stop and the State Government needs to step in and be stronger and make sure that the DAP does not approve future five-storey applications.

Councillor Bryn Jones reminded us last night that the State Heritage Office had recommended the Notre Dame University five-storey building in High Street for approval and that is a serious worry.

It was only the university’s Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond’s respect for Fremantle Council and the Freo community that saw Notre Dame withdraw the development application after public rejection.

That building will now be totally redesigned to accommodate the wishes of the community. That is responsible and respectful development other developers should take heed off!

 

Roel Loopers

 

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