Another much-needed development in Fremantle’s east CBD is closer to getting approval with the Planning Committee of the City of Fremantle on Wednesday recommending approval for the eight-storey residential/mix-use building on the former Spotlight site next to Target and the Westgate mall at Queen Adelaide Street.
Many Freo people refer to that part of town as Little Beirut because it is run down and attracts anti-social behaviour in the area and people are reluctant to wait at the bus stops there. Just a few hundred meters east of it the Hilton Doubletree Hotel development should also be starting in early 2017.
I have commented on the unattractive design of the building here on Freo’s View before but strongly believe that development will improve and activate the east CBD and that is absolutely necessary.
The building is opposite the ugly Johnson Court, that recently received a new coat of paint and looks a tiny bit better.
I agree with Mayor Brad Pettitt’s sentiment that almost anything is an improvement for the area, but don’t agree with him that this is a good development. Fremantle Council and the State’s DAP need to push for more quality architecture and outstanding design and not accept mediocrity, as that is slowly becoming the norm for new development in our beautiful city.
In my never-ending quest to get more exciting and beautiful buildings in Fremantle, and Perth in general, I want to make developers and planners aware of this stunning building in Rio de Janeiro in Brasil.
I saw the Museum of Tomorrow on TV during the Olympics and love it. How great would it be to see something similar on Victoria Quay complimenting the Maritime Museum. It would make for a fantastic convention and function centre, or a new Immigration Museum.
It was a pretty wet and cold morning in Fremantle still this Sunday but spring is only days away, so I hope my terrible cold will disappear when warmer weather arrives.
Took this photo of High Street just after 7 am.
I like the idea of the Future Bayswater organisers to hold a Speakers Series about urban infill and density and it is something the City of Fremantle and/or Fremantle Network should consider doing without bias and with a wide variety of opinions, not just the green one.
There is little use in playing the blame game and dividing communities when talking about inevitable urban infill and higher density and it will always get some form of NIMBY opposition.
Most reasonable people accept that the urban sprawl of Perth is not sustainable, but local and state governments need to be very careful to not destroy the unique character of older cities. Good sensitive infill and medium density in carefully selected pockets of Fremantle will be very good and might also help create badly needed affordable student accommodation just a 15-minute bike ride from the CBD.
At a recent forum of Future Bayswater Committee for Perth chair Marion Fulker expressed that heritage was often used as an excuse against infill, but I don’t agree with her. Heritage protection here is Fremantle and elsewhere has to be paramount and an absolute priority! That is not difficult to accommodate as there are many under developed areas just on the outskirts of the inner city where substantial residential development will help increase the amenity instead of damaging it.
That is the conversation we need to have in Freo so let’s get organise some forums. Good leadership is taking the community with you when implementing change!
The Hilton Doubletree development at Fremantle Point Street will be starting in early 2017 according to information on the agenda of next Wednesday’s City of Fremantle Ordinary Council meeting.
According to the agenda item the SKS group responsible for the development will be opening an office opposite the site in Point Street soon, and development has been pushed back from the last quarter of this year to the first quarter of next year.
There is also a development application out for the Westgate Mall site east of the Target building, so Queen Adelaide Street could become a hive of building development next year, connecting Kings Square with the residential development along Queen Victoria, Beach and Quarry streets.
The Princess May Park masterplan has also been approved so changes there are also due soon, and DAADA is to move into the former Boys School there next year as well.
Two interesting articles about city development in the West Australian property section drew my attention this morning.
The first one “Giving residents first priority” is something I have been calling for for many years, as I believe proper community consultation about new development at the earliest possible stage will take a lot of negativity out of the process, and does not force community groups to be reactive when it is often too late, and subsequently being branded as nay-sayers.
The West reports that RobertsDay‘s studio leader Duane Cole said “Developers tapping into a community’s values and culture should start with genuine collaboration to build trust.”
Duane Cole told the West “…residents needed to be first in the process, not an afterthought.” and I could not agree more with that sentiment.
I do realise that Councils and developers might be reluctant to take this on as often the NIMBY attitude makes collaboration with the community difficult and frustrating, but building resentment by ignoring the wishes of the community is definitely not the way to go.
The second article is by Dr. Anthony Duckworth-Smith of the Australian Urban Design Research Centre in Perth who writes that AUDR has been working with the City of Fremantle to explore ways of finding the right balance for infill.
Duckworth Smith writes in the West that if Fremantle wants to keep its diverse social mix it should be looking at building smaller homes in suburban areas, because in the past two decades the vast majority of new homes in Fremante were four or more bedrooms, although households have become smaller and more diverse.
He warns however that the suitability for small houses is limited and does not cater for those who want to own. a house.
Modified local planning and design guide lines that respect the character of suburban areas could be developed to achieve urban infill the community accepts.
The City of Fremantle is willing to lead to find solutions to fill the gap between single residential and high density apartment buildings, Duckworth-Smith writes.
I believe that good infill in suitable targeted areas is the way forward, not just random infill and higher density because a property becomes available for development. That requires long-term planning and a vision for the ‘burbs’.
It has become quite clear that especially in older character suburbs many residents are against substantial change, infill, high density and medium and high rise buildings. That does not make the task for local and state government any easier. Some people believe the urban sprawl is inevitable to continue the great Australian dream of owning a large house with front and back garden, even when we have limited water supplies and urban sprawl is very expensive because it requires ever expanding roads, rail, power, water and gas to suburbs many tens of kilometres away from the CBD. This of course also causes traffic nightmares during peak hours.
Like with most things in life there are no easy solutions that will please and satisfy everyone, but I believe tough decisions have to be made now because future generations will suffer from the lack of foresight and leadership of our state and local governments.
The new Historic Panoramas website features some stunning historic photos of Fremantle and Perth. It is a work in process and hopefully many more panoramas will be included on the site, but check it out and see if you can support it with historic and modern photos.
This is what the HP people say about the site:
The Historical Panoramas project provides a unique and visually interesting way to explore the development of Perth and Fremantle as far back as the 1860s.
Photographic panoramas provide a very good way to understand the physical layout of a cityscape. Unlike individual photos which can be hard to understand context and location, panoramas often provide very good spatial awareness and convey a good visual impression of a location.
For this project we are fortunate that Perth and Fremantle are relatively young cities. Perth was established in 1829 and the dawn of commercial photography was in the 1840s. The oldest panorama of Perth we have found so far is from the 1860s – showing a very young city. We can therefore see the very early days of the city with the visual clarity that photography provides. Of course, prior to settlement these areas were inhabited by the local Noongar people and the older panoramas provide a glimpse of what that life might have been like with bushland visible in the distance.
An article about young architects and city development in today’s Sunday Times magazine has me wondering about certain facts in the article.
Journalist Jade Jurewicz mentions successful architect Nic Brunsdon, who among many innovative things such as Spacemarket and MOANA also started the Many 6160 retail and design incubator in the former Myer building at Fremantle’s Kings Square.
The article claims that Many pumped $ 1.7 million into the Fremantle economy since it opened in 2013 and because of Many there has been a 25 per cent reduction in vandalism in the area.
Where do these figures come from? Many is only open for four days a week, so I doubt it has a severe impact on the reduction of vandalism at Kings Square and I doubt it is highly successful as a retail environment as one rarely sees shoppers in the building.
I like fresh new innovative ideas, but the fact is that many mini retailers tried Many and left because it was not financially successful for them. Many is more or less a slightly more upmarket weekend market where presumably many traders have more secure income on weekdays to support their Many shop income, so how it has pumped $ 1.7 million into Fremantle, as the reporter claims, I’d like to know.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt is also quoted in the article and rightly says that cities develop in layers. Archeologists will no doubt also agree with our Mayor, but while the layers of innovation, development and progress are good, the physical layer of boring and mediocre new buildings in our city will have a long-lasting negative affect on the character of Fremantle. At present it looks more as if we are trying to put layers of manure on top of fields of beautiful roses. That is not acceptable!
The City of Fremantle is one of only a few metropolitan councils who have not yet joined the call for the abolishment or drastic reform of the W.A. Joint Development Assessment Panels(DAP).
Only a few days ago the Town of East Fremantle joined the 21 of 30 metro councils who called for the State Government to have a serious look at what is wrong with the DAP.
Councils and communities claim the DAP erodes local government democracy and removes the opportunity for them to be part of the decision making process, which results in buildings of inappropriate height being approved by DAP, threatening the local character and amenity of place, especially in the older suburbs. The building next to St Patrick’s and the Australia Hotel, rejected by Fremantle Council but approved by DAP is an example of it.
Fremantle Councilllor Rachel Pemberton put a Notice of Motion to Wednesday’s FPOL Committee and appeared to have support demanding changes to the DAP system, but committee wanted the wording tweaked and the CEO and Pemberton will now work on that. The item will then go back to FPOL at the September meeting.
It was interesting to hear FPOL Chair Councillor Andrew Sullivan stating he believed less robust councils than Fremantle were more affected by DAP decisions, but that Fremantle Council should become even more robust in its planning policies. I fear Councillor Sullivan means that Fremantle Council should introduce substantially more height in future scheme amendments.
Councillor Pemberton claims that there is bipartisan support for the DAP at state level, but I hope that is not true. With so much outrage in so many communities reform of the DAP system could become an election winner for the Labor Party if they promise to overhaul the process or scrap the DAP.