Freo's View

ILLEGAL FREMANTLE PEDESTRIAN ACCESS CLOSURE

Posted in city of fremantle, city planning, community, local government, pedestrians, Uncategorized by freoview on December 29, 2018

 

 

The City of Fremantle has not received permission from the WA Planning Commission to close the Pedestrian Access Way-PAW between Kellow Place and Swanbourne Street, but the PAW has remained closed, disregarding the WAPC’s direction.

Fremantle Council decided on July 26 last year to grant a temporary trial closure of one year after an application had been made for the closure on December 1, 2014.

The My Say Freo residents’ survey resulted in two submissions by local residents presented to Council, one to re-open the PAW with 22 signatures and one to keep the PAW closed with 13 signatures, but in October this year Fremantle Council decided to keep the PAW closed anyway, despite the directive from the WAPC, and asked officers to start negotiating with the state agency to see if they would change their opinion.

Local residents who are for keeping the PAW open received a letter from David Caddy, the Chair of the WAPC, dated November 21, 2018, which states that “……insufficient evidence exists at this point in time to warrant the closure. The proposed closure is not supported.”

David Caddy also wrote “Should the City of Fremantle decide to proceed with the closure and seek revised recommendation from the WAPC, then further justification will need to be provided to support the City’s position.”

Residents who want the PAW open rightly ask why the City of Fremantle keeps the PAW closed although it has not received permission to do so, which means the PAW has now been illegally closed for pedestrian access since the trial period finished six months ago.

One of the property owners who applied for the PAW closure has extended his brush fence across the entries to the PAW.

Roel Loopers

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GOOD AFFORDABLE PROPOSAL FOR QUARRY STREET

 

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As reported here on Freo’s View yesterday it is unlikely that Fremantle Council will sign off on a scheme amendment that would increase density of City owned lots in Quarry Street to R100, after the local community opposed it during public consultation time.

But positive members of the Fremantle Arts Centre Precinct, including local architect Murray Slavin, are offering an alternative solution for the development of the lots, which are for sale, that would see an increase from R25 to R60 and buildings of only three storeys.

The proposal is for 42 affordable residencies which include small studio apartments and a mix of two and three bedroom apartments that would include renewable energy, developed within a Mutual Not For Profit Structure.

The proposal is specifically designed for low-cost housing and aged care accommodation, with state of the art IT to accommodate on-line data and a health-ready response to enable the comfort and security of seniors.

The proponents believe the site is particularly appropriate for the elderly and less abled because of its proximity to the Fremantle Leisure Centre and Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle Park and public transport. All City of Fremantle facilities for the residents would be within walking distance.

The project responds to the desire to downsizing by empty nest seniors and to the national need for low-cost public housing.

The specifically designed seniors’ apartments respond to the need of a simplified independent lifestyle for older Australians-a transition to delay entry into dedicated aged care facilities.

The project would also accommodate a mix of age groups, which would help against social isolation, and to showcase optimum use of renewable energy and water use, and fast evolving new transport developments.

The item about a possible scheme amendment for the City of Fremantle owned properties  are on on the agenda of Wednesday’s Planning Committee, so come along and have your say. It starts at 6pm at the North Fremantle community Hall on Wednesday December 5.

Roel Loopers

NO HIGHER DENSITY FOR QUARRY STREET?

 

The potential scheme amendment and zoning to R100 density for the properties at 7 and 9-15 Quarry Street in Fremantle is unlikely to proceed because of strong community objections to the idea.

The properties are owned by the City of Fremantle, which wants to sell them, but the community consultation showed that local residents are in favour of zoning the street for low-density R25 instead of medium-density R100.

Main concerns were the impact on the residential amenity of the streetscape, so the officers’ recommendation for this Wednesday Planning Committee is:

The report concludes that whilst there is planning merit in establishing a consistent zoning and suitable transitional density in this location, the complexity of developing mechanisms sufficient to address concerns raised to the satisfaction of the community, and the relatively modest increase in centre catchment/development yield likely to be achieved, does not warrant progressing the matter through all the stages of a formal scheme amendment process.

Roel Loopers

SOUTH FREO CALOGERO’S FUTURE IN DOUBT

 

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The future of CALOGERO’S  as a restaurant is in doubt with the officers’ recommendation to the City of Fremantle Planning Committee to refuse the late approval sought for the unauthorised partial use to restaurant and additions to the existing building.

The South Fremantle groceries shop, which is next to the Port City Roasters, received an interior facelift some years ago, and they also added a small cafe, but have now converted the entire four-bay carpark into an alfresco restaurant without the necessary planning approval.

CoF officers argue that the removal of the parking bays affects parking in the area, which is at a premium most of the day because of all the cafes and restaurants between Leffroy Road and Jenkin Street.

The delayed seeking of approval is for a 30 seat outdoor and 16 seat indoor restaurant with the shop remaining the primary use of the two-storey premises.

The item is on Wednesday’s Planning Committee agenda, which starts at 6pm at the North Fremantle community hall.

Roel Loopers

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NO HIGHRISE FOR ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL

 

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The Fremantle Herald has got a nice scoop today about Planning Minister Rita Saffioti putting a seven-storey cap on future development of the Royal George Hotel site in East Fremantle.

East Fremantle Council only wanted to allow six-storeys but the minister has instructed them to re-advertise Amendment 28 for a month.

According to the Chook Minister Saffioti has said any future development of the site  will have to be passed by the new State Design Review Panel, which seems absurd as a substantial development like that would have to be approved by a WA Joint Development Assessment Panel anyway.

It is premature for the Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk to claim that the Royal George will be developed to its former glory, since Saracen Properties, which owns the building, have previously stated they need the proposed 21-storey highrise to compensate for the restoration investment of the building.

Saracen told the Herald that it has concerns that it could make a substantially lower building work, but that a seven-storey building would be a big and bulky one.

Roel Loopers

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BUILD US HERITAGE OF THE FUTURE!

 

An opinion piece in the West Australian by Suzanne Hunt, the WA president of the Architects Institute of Australia, caught my eye because the headline claims that ‘Architects make great cities’ I don’t believe the architectural reality in Perth can sustain that claim.

Ms Hunt wants architects appointed to the Metronet Reference Group and Infrastructure WA, because in her words It would ensure that local planning incorporates the very best examples of good design. Really?!

Suzanne Hunt also writes that Architects advocate for small policy decisions, which create happier, healthier and more connected suburbs, but that is unfortunately not what most of her colleagues are doing.

Drive and walk through the Perth metro area and you’ll see mostly boring, mediocre and visually unattractive multi-storey buildings, which have little regard for the streetscape and public amenity and which do very little to add new public open spaces with trees.

What we have been getting instead are bland concrete boxes which are often too high and bulky. The ‘creativity’ of the architects is putting cladding or screening on facades to hide the boredom of the actual building. That is make-up only that is trying to hide the flaws.

I get it that architects need to make a living and that the developers they design projects for are mostly interested in getting as much profit-making floor space as possible, and that beauty, aesthetics and great design are not  priorities for them, hence many architects compromise and design average buildings, instead of enhancing our suburbs with creative and inspiring new buildings.

That is the reason why so many of us are against suburban infill, not necessarily because of the proposed hight and bulk, but because we want to retain the unique character of older places like Fremantle, and that means we want heritage of the future in outstanding and beautiful buildings, not mediocrity.

Roel Loopers

KNUTSFORD URBAN DESIGN STRATEGY ON AGENDA

 

The Knutsford Urban Design Strategy, which is on the agenda of the  Strategic Planning and Transport Committee of Fremantle Council on Wednesday, will no doubt attract a lot of input from the arts community in the semi industrial area that is earmarked for development.

The officers mention that walkability is an essential element of the plans, as well as respecting the original landscape, planting many more trees, flexibility when designing open spaces, disorganised parking on verges which affects cyclists and pedestrians, and connecting a path network in the precinct.

Community centres in the area, such as the Fibonacci Centre, are unique and need to have breathing space around them to be able to continue and that will be one of the many challenges for the development plans of the precinct.

Roel Loopers

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WE DEMAND OUR SAY IN CITY PLANNING!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, development, Uncategorized by freoview on November 17, 2018

 

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This letter to the editors of the West Australian by Ian Kerr of Mt Lawley makes so many valid points about the failures of our planning process that it deserves to be spread around, so that more people can read it and comment on it.

The rights of local communities to have a proper say on city planning have been eroded over the years by giving more power to the Joint Development Assessment Panels(JDAP), SAT and the WA Planning Commission, which often overrule local council decisions and approve inappropriate high and bulky buildings in character suburbs.

Main Roads is all about moving vehicles, with often scant regard for pedestrians and other road users, and JDAP is all about building bigger buildings and higher density, and not about amenity and aesthetics. That needs to change.

Great letter, Ian Kerr! Keep up the good fight!

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE WANTS GST INVESTMENT

 

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has urged the state government to spend some of WA’s $4.7 billion GST windfall on essential infrastructure in the port city.

Changes to the GST distribution passed by the Senate yesterday will deliver $1.7 billion in top-up payments to WA over three years, and see the state about $4.7 billion better off over the next eight years, and the Freo Mayor wants to see some of that windfall invested in Fremantle.

Fremantle is having an unprecedented level of investment and development, so Mayor Brad Pettitt said  “Over the past few years the state government has invested billions of dollars in the Perth CBD in projects like Elizabeth Quay, Yagan Square and the stadium, and now is the perfect time to invest in Perth’s second city.

“As a local government we’ve done a lot of the ground work with planning and feasibility studies, so there is an ideal opportunity for the government to partner with us to deliver some of these projects that are essential not just for Fremantle but for the entire state.”

Brad Pettitt mentioned the possible redevelopment of land surrounding the Fremantle Passenger Terminal at Victoria Quay and including Fremantle in the early stages of METRONET as key projects requiring government investment.

An independent report Freo City commissioned back in 2016 identified the development of the South Quay precinct would generate 3700 new jobs, attract private investment of $3.5 billion and return almost $1 billion to the state over 20 years.

The Mayor said “We want the government to bring forward the detailed planning for the Fremantle to Murdoch link – be it light rail or trackless trams – to fill the east-west public transport gap until the Fremantle to Cockburn passenger rail link is progressed.

I personally also want the State Government to invest in an Aboriginal Centre in Fremantle so that overseas tourists can enjoy and learn about our Aboriginal culture and history. This is well overdue and should be a priority!

 

Roel Loopers

CITY PLANNING-MAKE YIMBYs OUT OF NIMBYs

 

Interesting to read that the City of Bayswater won the Planning Institute of Australia Planning Excellence Award 2018 for public engagement.

Bayswater invited 200 community groups and all residents to participate in a five-month community consultation process with focus groups, on-line participation, working groups, etc.

Well before planners and councillors put pen to paper about city planning projects the community was consulted in-depth about what type of buildings, what height and what set-backs they preferred in their suburbs.

There was also a conference in Melbourne a few weeks ago where planning experts expressed that councils should make YIMBYs out of NIMBYs by engaging much earlier with the public, so that community reaction would not be negative because people felt they are not being consulted.

It is one of the issues I have talked and written about, even in the days long back when I was the president of the Fremantle Society.

If council and developers engaged the community in the very early stages of development a lot of time and money could be saved, because it would be clear from the start what the community will accept and what development proposals they find unacceptable and will fight, all the way to SAT and the WAPC if that is required.

Fremantle Council and our developers should learn from Bayswater, as the development process can be sped up while creating better outcomes at the same time.

Well done City of Bayswater!

Roel Loopers

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