Freo's View

LINLEY LUTTON: INFILL FAILS UNIQUE QUALITIES OF OUR CULTURE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on January 13, 2018

 

I came across an article published in September 2017 in The Conversation  by internationally renowned Perth city planner and architect Linley Lutton, who sadly died this week, and want to share some of Linley’s thoughts with you.

Lutton writes that retrofitting cities is poor planning, justified in the name of sustainability, and that the results are often substandard living environments that show no relationship to local content.

The dispersed city form means we have to work, sleep, shop and socialise in different parts of the city.

High-density living works well where streets are at human scale, buildings  are interesting and where there are plenty of public meeting spaces, but in Australia we build jam-packed home units with minimal public open space, Linley Lutton says.

That is the failure to understand the unique qualities of Australian culture and how people choose to live.

Lutton writes that recent research shows that the great majority of Australians reject apartment living and that the majority of those living in an apartment would not repeat the experience.

It is seriously questionable to randomly subjecting suburbs to high-rise apartments, and so is the public transport corridor argument, or building infill near suburban railway stations.

Public transport only works if people actually use it, but Bureau of Statistics figures show that in Perth less than 10% of those living within walking distance of a train station actually travel to work by train.

Linley Lutton writes that there are three essential requirements of a good city:

  • Cities must nurture and stimulate healthy human growth and community development.
  • Local communities must meaningful participate in city planning.
  • The unique cultural and physical context of a city must be respected.

 

These are all very important points to consider for Fremantle Council for its strategic infill targets and the introduction of buildings that are too high for our human-scale character city!

The funeral of Linley Lutton, a man I greatly respect and like, will be held this Monday January 15 at 3.30 pm at the Karrakatta Cemetery.

 

Roel Loopers

STATE DEVELOPMENT PANELS THREATEN LOCAL DEMOCRACY

Posted in city of fremantle, councils, development by freoview on March 11, 2016

Communities, councils and planning experts are getting more and more vocal against inappropriate infill, higher density, and the role the State’s Development Assessment Panels and State Administrative Tribunal play in it.

Already four local councils, including the big City of Vincent, have expressed their dismay about DAPs and want the state government to scrap the process or make it more democratic, because it has a pro-developers bias. The two Councillors on the panels are outnumbered by three public servants, and while developers have the right to challenge the DAP decisions, local councils have not. That is undemocratic.

The Mayor Brad Pettitt Facebook page has a discussion going on about infill, and highly-respected city planner and architect Dr Linley Lutton will argue on Wednesday at UWA that inappropriate infill is destroying communities.

It is disappointing that the  WA Labor party has remained silent on this subject, although I believe it would win them a substantial number of votes if they abandoned the Direction 2031 Liberal party infill targets for more density and the disliked DAPs.

In my personal opinion there is nothing wrong with higher density and higher buildings in the right locations, but the push to have it all happening close to railway stations and public transport corridors is a threat to the lifestyle and unique character of older suburbs such as Fremantle, Subiaco, etc.

It is outrageous that the State agencies overruled Subiaco Council and approved a 16-storey-building on the former market site at Rokeby Road, when council only wants buildings up to eight storeys. Imagine the DAP would have allowed the Atwell Arcade building in Freo to be twice as high and eight storeys instead of four!

The problem of setting indiscriminate infill targets for all local councils is that high density building are popping up in the wrong locations, where they do a lot of damage to the amenity and streetscape and severely and negatively impact on the community. That needs to change!

It is wrong for older suburbs that infill needs to be within walking distance from a train station, when on the outskirts of the CBD there is ample opportunity for higher apartment buildings, and bus routes could be adapted to accommodate more residents in those areas.

I welcome the very substantial development along Fremantle’s Queen Victoria and Beach street and other important new buildings in the CBD, but there is a whole lot more to come with the development of the Woolstores shopping centre site to a possible ten-storey-high mixed use, rumours about the Marilyn New-owned woolstores site at Clancys also talk about substantial height, and the corner of Henry and High street is also on the cards to be developed in the near future, together with the former Workers Club site opposite it.

There is no doubt for me that Fremantle needed development and to modernise and attract more residents to the CBD. It is also essential we build more tourist accommodation in town and I hope that will stop the mad rush of people signing up their homes with Air B&B because that is negatively impacting on neighbours.

It is very good that there is a serious social and mainstream media debate going on about all this, and that some councils are now putting their foot down and say enough is enough, because DAP and SAT are undermining local council democracy, like dictators do with human rights, and that needs to end!

Roel Loopers

 

DON’T LET FREO LOSE SENSE OF PLACE

Posted in fremantle by freoview on September 22, 2014

City planner and architect Linley Lutton makes some valid points in his opinion piece in the Fremantle Herald. Lutton was on the City of Fremantle Design Advisory Committee until December last year, so he knows the process and what goes on behind the scenes.

Lutton argues that Fremantle Council facilitates poor development that ignores the importance of sense-of-place, that triggers strong memories and shapes our identities. He writes that Freo’s heritage West End is the most valuable asset in entire Perth.

That a member of the Design Advisory Committee expressed that commercial viability had been taken into consideration when dealing with the Atwell Arcade development proposal is a no-no according to Lutton, who claims that is well outside the formal terms of reference given to the DAC. Lutton writes there is nothing in the planning scheme either that allows for variations because of commercial capability.

I agree that one of the main concerns about recent development approvals is that they do set a precedent that can be used for future development, as far as increased height, bulk and mediocre design goes, and that is a worry because we have not seen the approval of any outstanding buildings for the Fremantle CBD yet.

Lutton warns that the community should be alarmed that the advisory committee and councillors have started a process of eroding the character of place, something he believes is not replaceable.

Development at all cost will harm Fremantle in the long term, so vigilance is the essence and insisting that Council only approves outstanding buildings in the inner city that show consideration, and are respectful, to our heritage.

Roel Loopers

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