Freo's View

FREMANTLE COUNCIL REJECTS NOTRE DAME DEVELOPMENT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, notre dame university by freoview on February 22, 2017

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Fremantle Council unanimously rejected the development proposal for a five-storey building by Notre Dame University on the corner of High and Cliff streets on Wednesday evening.

It was telling that the only person on the night who spoke in favour of the terribly mediocre and boring development proposal for 3 High Street in Fremantle’s historic West End was Olwyn Williams the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.

Very disappointing that the Chamber does not recognise that Fremantle is so popular with overseas and interstate visitors because of Fremantle’s beautiful West End and historic significance.

Everyone else who spoke was very strongly against the absolutely inappropriate proposal for what is arguably the most beautiful street in Western Australia. I understand 45 submissions against the proposal were sent to Fremantle Council and only three in support of it.

Some comments from public speakers: The design is totally inappropriate- Architecture unworthy of the historic location-  Does not respect existing heritage buildings- Rethink the location of the building and move it to the east end of Fremantle.

Councillor Jon Strachan said it was clear cut to him that he could not support the proposal, while Councillor David Hume said the street level activation carrot that was dangled was not enough to approve the building.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton said the proposed building does not integrate with the other facades at all and that the ‘urban grain’ is very important.

Councillor Simon Nabor said it was too bulky, too big and dominates the area, while Deputy Mayor Dave Coggin said that it is a terrible outcome and that High Street is an extremely important heritage street.

Councillor Andrew Sullivan who also spoke against the building warned that it might be approvable for the State’s JDAP which is the decision-making authority.

I am outraged to learn that the State Heritage Office has recommended approval for the building. The way they are going they are becoming as incompetent as the EPA. This is the same office that put the entire West End on the State Heritage List, but now supports the UNDA monstrosity that has no place in the historic West End.

I urge my friends at Notre Dame to not push this ahead against the wishes of the Fremantle community and council. UNDA needs to accept that the floor space they need for the new School of Nursing can’t be achieved at 3 High Street because it breaks development and heritage rules for the West End Conservation Area. Move the building east of the Townhall and you’ll get all the space you require! Please do it!!

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

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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

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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.

NOTHING NEW ABOUT STUDENT DISCOUNTS

Posted in election, fremantle, notre dame university by freoview on February 10, 2017

I like politicians to have an informed opinion and make informed suggestions, so I am quite amused by Fremantle Liberal candidate Hayden Shenton’s suggestion in the Fremantle Herald today that BID businesses should offer discounts to Notre Dame University students.

Had the wannabee politician done his research by walking down High Street he would have noticed several cafes and food outlets, and even hairdressers already offer discounts to UNDA students.

I guess this is one of those anything will do to get media exposure thought bubbles by someone who has no public profile in Freo.

The election candidates forum is on Tuesday February 24, 6.30 pm at the Tannock Hall of UNDA, corner Cliff and Croke streets, so come and find out how many more ‘new ideas’ the candidates have for Freo.

Roel Loopers

STOP DISRESPECTFUL DEVELOPMENT IN WEST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, notre dame university by freoview on January 23, 2017

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This is the boring bland building proposal for the corner of High and Cliff streets in Fremantle’s historic West End that Notre Dame University believes is good enough and acceptable for the heritage listed area. It isn’t by a long stretch.

I am a big fan and supporter of Notre Dame, but this is just not on!

Please do write your submissions to the City of Fremantle and the WA Joint Development Assessment Panel before February 13 as we cannot allow the destruction of Freo’s historic West End through uninspiring architecture that shows no respect whatsoever for the historic significance of the area. This building needs to be stopped at all cost!

Go to Community Engagement on the CoF website (top left) and submit your objection to this boring building.

Roel Loopers

UGLY NOTRE DAME HIGH STREET DEVELOPMENT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, notre dame university by freoview on January 19, 2017

Fremantle Notre Dame University has submitted their very disappointing building plans for 3 High Street on the corner of Cliff Street to the City of Fremantle.

The very boring and ugly five storey building will house the Nursing School, a theatre and a bar, but in my opinion it is absolutely inappropriate for Fremantle’s historically significant heritage-listed West End.

This proposal is utter boredom and lazy architecture that does not compliment, reference or respect surrounding heritage buildings and the close proximity to Western Australia’s oldest public building the Roundhouse.

UNDA has decided to go straight to the State’s Joint Development Advisory Panels which is also disappointing.

There will be a community session at the Townhall (back steps near Many 6160) on Thursday February 2 from 5.30-6 pm and written submissions to council need to be in by February 13. Please write in and tell UNDA we want beautiful buildings in our West End and not the ugly rubbish they are proposing.

To view the plans and pictures click on the Community Engagement page of the City of Fremantle website.

Roel Loopers

NOTRE DAME MEDIOCRITY IS NOT VERY FREO

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, notre dame university by freoview on November 21, 2016

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What frustrates me most about the proposal by Notre Dame University to build a mediocre and inappropriate building in Fremantle’s historic West End is that UNDA are not just greedy developers but educators with a great history department who should know better.

We can witness in Perth what awful damage inappropriate buildings of the 60s, 70s and 80s have done to that city and I often receive comments about that at the Roundhouse from overseas and interstate visitors who are impressed with Fremantle’s heritage but not impressed with the blandness of Perth.

A university does have even more responsibility to be a good corporate citizen than other organisations and that is why it is staggering that the UNDA management accepts such a bland building from its architects.

Universities need to be innovative and push boundaries because they are education our future generations of leaders, so it is not acceptable for them to just put a glass box in a heritage precinct because they need more space for their medical department.

Edith Cowan University in Joondalup builds creative modern buildings there, so why does Notre Dame believe that boring mediocrity is good enough for Freo’s most beautiful precinct?!

Many developers have no respect for the unique character of Fremantle, but I do understand for them it is all about the triple bottom line and that most don’t give a rat’s arse about the beauty of Freo as long as the dollar signs keep flashing and their bank accounts bulge, but that should be different for a university which has a much greater responsibility to the community than ordinary developers.

For those who missed this comment to my blog by renowned award-winning Perth architect Jean-mic Perrine, here it is again:

Roel,

In an age of VIRTUAL everything, it is symptomatic of those who do not actually want the public to understand the true impact of a building to resort to an “artists impression” which is all this submission offered. 

I have dealt with heritage buildings for over 25 years. I say the following for one purpose only and it is not to gloat: From the Commonwealth Bank and GPO redevelopments in Forrest Place to the Heritage award-winning projects of the Leederville Post Office and Box Building, City of Perth inaugural Heritage award winner for interpreting modernity in a historically sensitive manner. Of course I recently completed the celebrated Terrace Hotel in the city, revitalising one of Perth’s oldest residential buildings into a luxury hotel.

I say the above to be able to give context to what I say now.

The proposal by NDU is inappropriate, poorly conceived and disrespectful of a heritage precinct. What is sadder is that it has little original architectural merit and reminds me of the lazy days of the 70’s when this sort of sketch allowed monstrosity to mushroom in our historic precincts.

Roel Loopers

DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED IN NOTRE DAME UNIVERSITY

Posted in city of fremantle, development, heritage, notre dame university by freoview on November 19, 2016

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I am deeply disappointed that Fremantle Notre Dame University has decided to go ahead with the application for approval of a five-storey building on the corner of Cliff and High streets in the historic West End of town, and that they have not made any changes and compromises after the community consultation session last month.

Up until now I genuinely believed that UNDA had the best interest of Fremantle at heart, but it appears that they are just another organisation only interested in making money and not caring one iota about the damage the building will do to the appearance of the heritage-listed West End.

I feel personally taken for granted after submitting ideas for changes to the plans, set-backs, corner, etc. but that has all been ignored, presumably by the architects who believe they know everything better and who show little respect for Freo’s unique heritage character with this boring uninspiring building that lacks creative ideas.

While I appreciate very much that Vice Chancellor Professor Celia Hammond made the effort to attach a personal note to the letter I received from UNDA I do not believe that “We have spent the time since the community session carefully considering all community feedback and comment, re-examining our proposal and reviewing the expert advice received during the design and development stages.”

Fact is that UNDA was unwilling to compromise and will now try to ram through a highly inappropriate building in our heritage precinct, and hence they will lose my support and I will no longer promote UNDA events on Freo’s View or report about them.

I also want to point out to Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and the Councillors that you can not be prominent in the media all the time saying that you want to protect the West End while creating new density infill in the East End, but then approve buildings like this one by the university. This is an unacceptable proposal and needs to be rejected. Your overpaid Design Advisory Panel should have put the boot in before it progressed so far.

I  am very passionate about Fremantle’s heritage and will personally actively oppose at the October 2017 election the re-election of sitting members who approve this building and will use this very popular blog to make sure we will get people elected on Council who show more respect for Fremantle’s heritage!

Roel Loopers

NOTRE DAME UNI SIGNIFICANT FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in economy, education, fremantle, hospitality, notre dame university by freoview on October 19, 2016

I am a big fan of Fremantle’s Notre Dame University but believe the significance of the university to the Fremantle economy has almost slipped unnoticed under the radar of many in our community with some complaining the uni, like every other educational institution in Australia, does not pay council rates.

What UNDA has done is building a very strong brand with high academic acclaim and student satisfaction in the historic West End of Fremantle that attracts more than 6,000 students a year to the campus who are being looked after by around 1,700 staff and lecturers. That is over 7,700 people buying coffee and meals in Freo! It is estimated that the students alone contribute $ 1 million a year to the cafe industry.

When we talk about economic revitalisation we mention a possible 1,200 Housing Department staff relocating to Kings Square, 160 staff the Mediterranean Shipping Company in Cliff Street has brought in and some 200 people now working at the new Atwell Arcade building. That is all great but it also shows how important Notre Dame is for Freo’s hospitality and retail as it alone brings five times more people into Fremantle than those three examples combined.

Most cafes in Fremantle’s West End would not survive without the university, as they and tourism create the numbers that make these small businesses viable. Together with the weekend attraction of Fremantle to suburban visitors this helps make cafes successful all week.

So when you think that Notre Dame does not contribute enough to Fremantle, think about all the people who have jobs in cafes mainly because they get supported by students and staff of the uni, and also have a look at how well they look after the beautiful heritage buildings they occupy.

The one major disappointment for me is the lack of student accommodation in Fremantle and the exodus of students late afternoons. I hope the City of Fremantle and Notre Dame University will collaborate on improving that. What about COF offering UNDA a block of land at the Knutsford Street workshops site for a 49-year peppercorn rent or so, where UNDA can build a student apartment block close to public transport and only a ten-minute bike ride to uni?

Notre Dame does tours of the campus where one can see the stunning adaptive re-use of the heritage buildings, and while there keep an eye out for some outstanding Aboriginal art work on the walls. The free tours are being held every Friday morning. Contact UNDA for information.

Roel Loopers

NOTRE DAME BUILDING WRONG FOR HISTORIC WEST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, notre dame university by freoview on October 14, 2016

I have thought long and hard for the last five days about the development proposal by Fremantle Notre Dame University for the vacant site on the corner of Cliff and High streets in the historic West End and have come to the conclusion that it is not acceptable.

Even with all my good will for Notre Dame and being a supporter of the uni I can’t approve of the bland building proposed that is unacceptably high in the West End Conservation Area, no matter how much I like the UNDA people.

WECA has a four storey limit and just because an incompetent council in the 80s approved the abomination and monstrosity at number 1 High Street-the former Tram building- does not mean we should now allow another five storey building next to it to cover up the ugliness.

If UNDA needs the extra height it needs to move to the east of the CBD, but what they propose can’t be tolerated in our beautiful West End. The design is unsympathetic to the streetscape and entire historic area and the five storey height would squeeze in the surrounding buildings and Roundhouse.

The sweet carrot dangled in front of the community by offering ground level activity with a theatre, function/exhibition space and a bar/cafe is not good enough to compromise and allow a fifth floor on this building, as that is well above the West End Conservation Area planning rules and should never be compromised, not even for my good friends at UNDA!

The only compromise I can see is for a redesigned facade with a set back fourth storey that is pulled back well from the corner of Cliff and High in a 45 degree angle to create a third level roof terrace. That would also create the opportunity of a vertical garden along the fourth floor and an outdoor function and recreation area on the third floor roof.

Notre Dame University have genuinely tried to be a good corporate citizen and be part of the Fremantle community, but they need and can do much better with this building. This is a fantastic opportunity to build a heritage of the future building in this prime location, and they should not let their architects get away with proposing something so average and boring. UNDA must insist on beauty and creativity.

It is a shame I can’t show you the artist drawing of the proposal but they are not yet available to the public.

An information session will be held on October 25 from 5.30-6pm at the City of Fremantle. Enter at the back up the stairs in front of Many 6100.

Roel Loopers

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