Freo's View



Kings Square lights


The party lights are on at Fremantle’s Kings Square between the two new Sirona Capital buildings, so here a glimpse of it.

Roel Loopers



I think all of us who often complain about the mediocre new architecture we are getting in Fremantle should be delighted that the new DESIGN WA guidelines will apply from today on, but I am quite skeptical about the impact it will have, because good design is like good taste. It is very personal and hard to quantify.

Often when I have slammed the design of buildings others have commented they liked what I believed was atrocious architecture, so why would expert panels be any different in their different taste and preferences? Who dictates what good taste and good design is?

The new DESIGN WA guidelines are all about aesthetics and a review panel of 50 people will decide which planning proposal is in good taste and which one is not. The design review panel comprises of people from architecture, urban design, planning, and landscape architects plus more from heritage, public health, sustainability and engineering. It will be near impossible to reach consensus in such a big group I fear, so Chair Geoff Warn, who is the WA Government Architect, will have a big job ahead of him.

DESIGN WA has got rid of the controversial R-Code system applied up to now, so I wonder if Fremantle and other local councils will also do that. I’ll ask the Fremantle Planning Department if changes will be made in that regard.

I believe that our cities and communities deserve much better design than what we largely have been getting lately, especially for substantial apartment and office buildings. Retaining the tree canopy or providing significant numbers of trees and plants and creating much better streetscapes and public realm will be a very positive step forward. Let’s hope it can all be realised.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, hospitality, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on May 23, 2019


City of Fremantle Heritage Coordinator Alan Kelsall made me aware of a very positive article in The Guardian by Angelique Chrisofis about the revitalisation of the town of Mulhouse in the east of France, which should inspire Fremantle to continue with its efforts of recreating the high street ambience of the past.

According to Chrisofis the town “was once considered eastern France’s grimmest town” and ten years ago “was a symbol of the death of the European high street”

The town of 110,000 residents had a very high rate of youth unemployment, poverty, crime and anti-social behaviour, but that all turned around when Council took action.

Mulhouse set out to rebalance the housing mix. Generous subsidies for the renovation of building fronts expedited a facelift of more than 170 buildings. Security and community policing were stepped up. Transport was key – with a new tram system, bike schemes, shuttle buses and cheap parking.
But making the town’s public spaces attractive was just as important, with wider pavements, dozens of benches, and what officials deemed a “colossal budget” for tree planting and maintenance, gardening and green space. Local associations, community groups and residents’ committees were crucial to the efforts. A town centre manager was appointed to support independents and high-street franchises setting up.

The big change happened and 470 new shops and businesses opened over the last eight years. 75% of them are independent!

Read the full article in The Guardian:

In this context it is good to hear that Notre Dame University is considering a Masterplan for their Fremantle West End campus, in close collaboration with the City of Fremantle.

The uni recognises that it has grown well organically over the last 20 years but that it will be good to plan more ahead for the future with Freo City’s planners and Council, in light of the fact that NDA acquired the former Customs House buildings. Very positive!


Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, Easter, religion, Uncategorized by freoview on April 22, 2019


Easter is a time of contemplation, and even more so for me this year because I have hardly been able to participate in the Fremantle Street Arts Festival due to sciatica and hay fever medication, which when combined made me feel like a zombie today.

But I was thinking how lucky JC, the one from the Bible, was that red tape and nanny-state did not exist when he was resurrected, because it would probably not be allowed in our modern and very restrictive times.

As a forward-looking and future-focused person I have of course started to plan my own resurrection, but red tape has made it extremely frustrating.

I admit that the Fremantle Planning Department in the past have issued warnings about the demolition by neglect of my own heritage body, but surely they could be a bit more flexible when it comes to my resurrection.

My planning/resurrection application for a slim 210cm body with great film star looks was considered to be unrealistic and the additional discretionary height-up from 175cm- was rejected because there was no evidence that my new looks would be anywhere near as good as the architect’s plans suggested. Dare I mention that there was also  extremely strong community opposition to my resurrection. There was even a petition with 57,000 signatures, which shows not even the people in mediocre Cockburn and Melville like me!

I did go to JDAP and SAT but they too believed my resurrection was of no great benefit to the Fremantle community. It’s a shame, because now you will all be missing out on another long weekend after Loopy is a goner. 😡😍 😴😲 😇 😳

I hope you had a brilliant long weekend in Freo!

Roel Loopers

PS:  I was raised a Protestant and was Christened, so absolutely no intention to be disrespectful to the believers! It’s just a bit of lighthearted fun. Relax.





It is not official yet, but I was told last night that shock waves are going through the Fremantle Society with their president John Downson indicating that he will soon be relocating permanently to England.

Dowson is said to be deeply frustrated that the Society has been unable to make an impact on Fremantle planning matters and bad architecture, and he is outraged about what he calls the incompetent Fremantle Council, planning department and State’s JDAP and SAT, which approve in Dowson’s opinion inappropriate buildings in our city.

The Fremantle Society committee is very worried that they might not be able to find anyone to replace John Dowson because it has been very difficult over the past years to find members willing to put their hat in the ring and take on an official function, hence FS has now members on committee who don’t live anywhere near Fremantle.

Already during the last two years Dowson has ran FS partly from London, where he bought an apartment in a new upmarket subway station development, and from cruise ships on which he lectures about Fremantle’s history.

I see John Dowson’s departure from Fremantle as a good opportunity for the Fremantle Society to consider how to make the group relevant again and less political and council-bashing. It needs to go with the times and rejuvenate and redevelop itself and not be anti change and anti development. I hope the group won’t falter and collapse in a heap because of the departure of its powerful president.

If the Brits can cope with Brexit and Dowson is another thing, but good luck to John Dowson, who has been very controversial but with his heart in the right place for Freo.

Roel Loopers





The rejection by the State Government of the proposed wave park in the City of Melville is a huge win for the community there and has a lot in common with the State’s rejection of the planned tavern at J Shed on Fremantle’s Bathers Beach.

It is quite intriguing to notice that both local councils approved the controversial plans against huge community opposition and outrage and that even the community votes at special electors meetings were ignored.

One has to wonder also about the proposed location of a wave park in Melville that is just a 20-minute drive to Fremantle beaches. From memory there has even been an application for a small wave park near Port Beach, which makes even less sense.

It is nice to notice that the planning approval process, that is often criticised, worked well in both instances and that inappropriate uses of crown land were rejected by the State.

Roel Loopers



Landcorp has come with the interesting proposal to the City of Fremantle of creating a ‘Linear Park’ between Montreal and Wood streets as part of the residential development that is being built there.

The Linear Park would be created on the road reserve verge along Knutsford Street from Wood Street to Montreal Street in White Gum Valley, instead of Landcorp having to pay Fremantle City $ 404,075 cash in lieu.

I am not sure how wide the ‘park’ would be and if it would replace pocket parks throughout the development.

The proximity of Booyeembara Park makes it questionable if  a narrow stretch of ‘park’ is a good idea in that location.

Here is what City of Fremantle officers recommend to the Councillors at Wednesday’s Strategic Planning and Transport Committee:

Council :
1. Approve the acceptance by the City of Fremantle of a sum of $404,075 (exc GST) as cash in lieu of the provision of public open space as the means of complying with a condition of approval of the subdivision of land at lot 1819 Blinco Street, Fremantle.
2. Support the future expenditure of the cash in lieu payment referred to in 1 above (when received) on public open space improvement works to Booyeembara Park consistent with acceptable uses of cash in lieu funds specified in WAPC Policy DC 2.3 (subject to formal budget approval at the appropriate time), and authorise officers to request the approval of the Minster of Planning for this use of the cash in lieu payment, in accordance with the requirements of section 154(2)(c) of the Planning and Development Act 2005.
3. Advise LandCorp of Council’s resolution in relation to items 1 and 2 above, and also acknowledge the merits of the concept design for a high specification landscaping treatment of part of the Knutsford Street road reserve verge adjoining lot 1819 Blinco Street.

Roel Loopers




Fences in the Fremantle suburb of Hilton have been debated at Fremantle Council frequently lately because of unauthorised and inappropriate fences being built by home owners.

On Wednesday the Hilton fences policy will come before the Strategic Planning and Transport Committee with the officers proposing only minor changes. The policy would basically remain the same but with some flexibility to allow for variations.

1. Resolves to endorse the following modification to Clause 1.5 of the Hilton
Garden Suburbs Precinct Heritage Area Local Planning Policy 3.7 for the
purposes of community consultation:
1.5Street Walls and Fences
1.5.1 Street walls and fencing forward of the building line shall be a
maximum height of 1.2 metres and shall be visually permeable
above 300 millimetres.
1.5.2 For properties located on South Street, between Stock Road and
Lee Avenue, front fencing shall be visually permeable above 1.2
metres to a maximum height of 1.8 metres, with piers no higher
than 2.0 metres.
1.5.3 Solid masonry (brick) rear fencing shall be permitted for those
properties backing onto Stock Road to a maximum height of 2.0
Council may, at its discretion, vary the requirements of clause 1.5.1
where it is satisfied that the proposed street wall and/or fence:
a. Is consistent with character of the prevailing streetscape (including,
in relation to this clause only, the house directly across the street and
the three houses on either side of that opposing house, where these
are located within the Hilton Heritage Areas) AND maintains clear
surveillance between the street and the dwelling; or
b. is a maximum of 1.5m in height and a minimum of 80% visually
2. Request the preparation of community engagement material including clear
explanations and diagrams and undertake consultation on the proposed
changes to Clause 1.5 of the Hilton Garden Suburbs Precinct Heritage Area
Local Planning Policy 3.7 in accordance with Local Planning Policy 1.3 and
the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015.
3. Notes that the conduct of the review of the fencing provisions of the Hilton
Garden Suburbs Precinct Heritage Area Local Planning Policy 3.7 responds
to the review requested in the petition presented to Council on 12 December 2018.

Roel Loopers




ks 6


ks 1


The scaffolding has come down on the back building on the site of the former Queensgate building at William Street, showing the two buildings as contrasting each other in light and dark.

Along Queen Street more of the details of the buildings have also been revealed.

It is all part of the Fremantle Kings Square Redevelopment Project. 

I hear that Newman Court, that will become more prominent once the new Civic Centre has been built, will be renamed back to its original name of Newman Street.

Roel Loopers




Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on February 28, 2019


The agenda of the Fremantle Ordinary Council meeting was 250 pages long, so there were many items on the agenda, too many to go into too much detail here on the blog, but there are two more articles below this one about it.

  • The Freo Street Doctor will receive $ 20,000 sponsorship.
  • Winterworld‘s funding application for $ 25,000 cash for the next three years, plus in-kind support of $ 45,000 for using the Italian Club carpark, has been reduced to $ 25,000 cash this year, down to $ 20,000 next year and down again the year after to $ 15,000. The in-kind support remains the same for the three years.
  • McCabe Street in North Fremantle will be getting traffic calming in the form of a speed-reducing plateau near Tasker Place, but Councillor Andrew Sullivan said more needed to be done about the public realm and the area needs more forward planning.
  • Improvements to the Hampton Road and Lloyd Street intersection in South Fremantle will be made.
  • Improvements to the Parry/Adelaide/Queen Victoria streets intersection also on the cards.
  • A container deposit scheme for plastic bottles will be investigated.
  • A City Centre Land-Use Mix policy to avoid too many of the same businesses, such as taverns in the CBD, is being considered.
  • The Fremantle Alternative planning policy is almost there. It just needs some tweaking required by the Minister for Planning.
  • Gas-filled balloons will no longer be permitted on City of Fremantle property.
  • Officers have been asked to write a Film Friendly Freo policy for Council to consider.


Roel Loopers



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