Freo's View

FINDING SMALL ALTERNATIVE WAYS OF LIVING

Posted in fremantle, housing, lifestyle, living by freoview on February 16, 2017

For those interested in alternative living projects the Exploring Tiny Houses in Fremantle – and Different ways of Living Tiny is a good way to connect with like-minded people, network and share ideas.

Join Fremantle Councillor Rachel Pemberton – back from her recent trip to Europe – plus other expert panelists for a discussion and presentation of examples by local people who are pioneering a new phase of modest housing in Fremantle.

Its on Thursday March 2nd at the Fremantle Library from  6pm-7:30pm.

In times of a lack of really affordable housing, homeless people, a fast ageing population, and many mature singles and students looking for small living options, local councils should do more to explore options and find ways of alternative living.

Roel Loopers

HIGH DENSITY NOT THE SOLUTION

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, planning by freoview on February 5, 2017

I have a lot of respect for the opinion of architect and urban planner Dr Linley Lutton, who used to be on the City of Fremantle’s Design Advisory Committee until he resigned from it, so I was very interested to read Lutton’s article about infill and density in the POST community newspapers.

Dr Lutton argues that the WA government push for higher density and infill is not working and is outdated and that apartments are the least preferred living options in Perth. He also writes that apartments can’t be adapted and are not family friendly, but that the biggest housing demand by 2031 will be for families and not singles and couples.

The random erection of ugly and big buildings in town centres also worries the city planner and he writes that it is not true that Perth is more low density than other capital cities. In fact we are at similar levels of density as Canberra, Adelaide and Brisbane and not far from that in Melbourne.

While high density is often pushed in older character suburbs it is hard to understand why the WA State Government does not insist on higher density in new suburbs where people are still mainly building one and two storey houses and no apartment blocks or town houses.

The urban myth that people are abandoning their cars is also not supported by facts with tens of thousands abandoning public transport even when they live near public transport, according to government figures.

Linley Lutton says that higher density apartment living can work well, but planners need to take into account that ‘culturally rich street life’ and work opportunities are essential for successful highrise living.

As I and others have often argued the success of city planning and new development is dependent on understanding what the community wants and needs. There is a need for better and more intense collaboration between planning experts and the community, starting as early as possible in the process, so that community opinion is not being dismissed as negative, reactive, NIMBY and anti-development.

I am personally very happy that so much new development is happening in Fremantle and much more planned, but we need to actively discourage ugly, boring, mediocre new buildings ‘designed’ by lazy architects who have no respect for Fremantle’s unique character.

While the urban sprawl is not sustainable the indiscriminate infill targets for older character suburbs also lack reality and need to be reconsidered.

Roel Loopers

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LIV DEVELOPMENT REACHES FOR THE SKY

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development by freoview on February 4, 2017

liv

 

A big crane is going up this Saturday at the six-storey LIV Defence Housing apartment project at Queen Victoria Street.

This is a significant milestone for Fremantle and one we should not underestimate.

There are people, like I, who are not impressed with a lot of the new architecture developers propose for Fremantle, and there are those, including myself, who believe a lot of the design of new buildings here is uninspiring, uninspired and mediocre.

But not withstanding that the historic and economic significance of all the new development in Fremantle should give us all hope for a more exciting and vibrant future for our city.

Roel Loopers

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TINY HOUSES RECREATING COMMUNITIES

Posted in fremantle, housing, lifestyle, living by freoview on January 30, 2017

Fremantle resident Leanne McKenzie is passionate about Freo and alternative living and sees a need for innovative new ideas to deal with the fact that Fremantle is becoming more expensive and becoming less accessible to those on lower incomes.

Leanne believes that people who want to live in and be part of Fremantle should have diverse housing options available. She says “Fremantle is what it is because of passionate community minded people, so if this type of person wants to live here they should have access.“

She has years of experience with construction and renovations, and personal experience as owner builder renovating her Fremantle workers cottage on a very tight budget, and exactly how she needed it, but paying tribute to its humble origins.

Leanne says she took the decision to help the many others who struggle to get started extending and renovating their homes, and she has assembled an excellent team of designers, real estate professionals and trades to help guide others in taking the step.

“It is better reducing our ecological footprint, solar, thermal efficiencies etc. and upcycling our homes if practicable, rather than bowling over and starting from scratch.”

When Leanne McKenzie was told that her 90 sqm 3 bedroom home was too small for energy efficient hydronics systems, she decided to design one herself.

I want to equip people with the information and processes so they can make informed designs about their renovations, incorporating new technology and not spend big dollars if they are not precisely sure what they want. We don’t need BIG to live happy, we need quality spaces that enhance our lives and connect us to our neighbourhoods.

She is working to design a very special tiny house. “Mobility, ecological footprint, advanced technology is all part of our future for how we will live, but (re)connecting to our natural world, our neighbourhoods and communities is more important. This is what Fremantle does so well, and this should be accessible to all of us. “

For more detail contact Leanne.mckenzie@UrbanAesthetics.net.au

LiveLittle.com.au for more information on tiny house initiatives

IS HOUSING BECOMING UNAFFORDABLE?

Posted in development, fremantle, housing, lifestyle, property by freoview on January 24, 2017
LIV residential development with Heirloom apartments in the background.

LIV residential development with Heirloom apartments in the background.

 

While the LIV residential apartment project at Fremantle’s Queen Victoria Street is well under way, it is reported that Perth has one of the world’s least-affordable housing markets, according to property experts.

In a report published in the media today they state that house prices are more than six times the average income in Perth, which is $87,300.

According to Demographia, which compares housing affordability in cities of over one million population,  Australia’s major problem is urban containment planning policies.

Urban containment, infill and higher density policies in WA try to reduce urban sprawl by encouraging more density rather than releasing new so-called greenfields sites. This often negatively affects older character suburbs where inappropriately high and often ugly buildings are destroying the urban amenity.

Housing experts say that high house prices are not a sign of a city’s success but a sign of failure to deliver the housing that its citizens need. Affordable housing is no doubt impacted by high property prices and that is an additional worry.

Roel Loopers

ICONIC HEIRLOOM BEAUTY FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in architecture, building, development, fremantle by freoview on January 18, 2017

 

heirloom

Delighted to see the Heirloom by Match residential development of the historic former Dalgety Woolstores at Fremantle’s Queen Victoria Street. It was the first time in years this morning that there was no scaffolding around it.

What a beautiful iconic entry statement to our city it is!

Roel Loopers

PLANNING MINISTER IGNORES FREO’S DEVELOPMENT BOOM

Posted in city of fremantle, development, state government, western australia by freoview on January 9, 2017

heirloom-1

 

The article about development by WA Planning Minister Donna Faragher in today’s West Australian newspaper shows the Liberal party has resigned to the fact they can’t win the seat of Fremantle at the state election in March.

While the minister is excited about all the development in Cockburn, Midland, etc. she does not mention Fremantle once, although the port city is in an unprecedented development boom. So let’s update the minister on what goes on in good old Freo nowadays.

The Heirloom by Match apartments have just opened and opposite from there the LIV Defence Housing is building a huge residential development. Down the road next to St Pat’s another large apartment building will be built and just a couple of metres from there another one at Beach Street.

The Hilton Doubletree development should start early this year and the Quest hotel opened late last year in Packenham Street, while the B. apartments at Bathers Bay are also building new rooms.

Plans for an eight storey apartment building on the former Spotlight site have been approved and plans are well under way for residential development of the former Fremantle Workers Club, while Match is also building new apartments opposite the Local Hotel in South Freo and are developing the former Energy Museum site.

Oh and Minister, there is also a huge development commencing at Kings Square this year, in case you have not heard about it, and the Atwell Arcade development has also been completed, and there are many more substantial building projects in the pipeline for Fremantle.

And the heritage Warders and Gunners cottages are now also ready for occupation, dear Donna.

There is a lot going on in Fremantle and it is disrespectful of the Minister for Planning to not mention it at all.

Roel Loopers

BORING BUILDINGS FREMANTLE’S FUTURE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, design, development by freoview on January 8, 2017

 

 

18-22-adelaide-street-development-plans

 

Fremantle’s CBD is under serious threat of becoming the architectural mediocrity hub of Australia with most of the new development being well below acceptable standards for our historic city with its unique character.

On Wednesday we will again see the attempt by uncaring developers to get approval from the CoF Planning Commitee for a five storey bland concrete box at the Mills Records building at 18-22 Adelaide Street. The building is so awful that one has to wonder what standards some architects apply to their design and if they actually care about surrounding buildings, streetscapes and historic significance of place. This ugly and boring building proposal is for Kings Square, the heart of Fremantle, for heaven’s sake!

To the west of the proposed building is one of Kings Square’s most beautiful facades, but Fremantle planning and heritage officers have recommended that this rubbish should be approved.

Five storeys is too high for that location but it appears that when you set back the upper floors a metre or two you can get away with anything, although the excruciating architectural blandness should not be rewarded with discretionary additional height.

Fremantle is in a development boom, that I am very happy about, but we are well on the slippery downward slide of creating a very boring architectural CBD that does not compliment the visual delight of the historic west end. The “heritage of the future” buildings Council promised the community during the Planning Scheme Amendment 49 debate are nowhere to be seen.

Our elected members are so keen on development that they will approve just about everything no matter how ugly, boring, inappropriate and disrespectful to Freo’s history these buildings are, hence we get utter blandness in Pakenham Street, a rubbish building next to the Australia Hotel, a boring building on the former Spotlight site and a pretty mediocre Hilton Doubletree hotel development, to name just a few. (To be fair, Freo council did reject the building next to the Australia Hotel but it was approved by a State Government agency).

I strongly support development and change in the inner city but we need to insist on good quality development and creative design. The lame duck CoF Design Advisory Panel might as well be scrapped because they seem to have very little influence in reaching better design outcomes. Maybe it’s better to give building plans to a local Kindergarten and let the littlies decide what they like. We might get a much better aesthetic outcome than we get with the present useless DAP process.

The proposed Adelaide Street building is what I call Google design. You search for ‘five storey mediocrity’ and for a few dollars you can buy plans for it off the internet from someone somewhere in the world who has never been to Fremantle. The proposed building might look okay in a semi-industrial street in O’Connor but it has no place at historic Kings Square.

While W.A. has lost its Triple A rating Fremantle is well on the way of receiving Triple B status for Bloody Boring Buildings.

Stop the rot, stop the boring mediocre ugliness, and protect Freo’s unique beauty Fremantle Council!

Roel Loopers

HAPPY NEW YEAR FREO!

Posted in city of fremantle, community, fremantle, western australia by freoview on January 1, 2017

 

The sun has set on another year and Fremantle survived largely undamaged, but for a few ugly buildings, but such is life.

We need to be pragmatic about it and move on to a great future and learn from the mistakes we made last year, so from me to everyone in Fremantle

HAVE A BRILLIANT NEW YEAR!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE’S EAST END FACELIFT

Posted in architecture, development, fremantle by freoview on December 6, 2016

liv-apartments

 

Very good news to hear that the building of the huge LIV apartment development opposite the just completed Heirloom by Match building at Queen Victoria Street in Fremantle’s East End will start this week.

Defence Housing Australia announced the Georgiou Group has won the tender and has been appointed the $ 61 million building contract for the former Toyota dealership site.

The building will have 166 apartments with street level commercial areas and will change the face of the unattractive East End of Fremantle and become a modern gateway to the city.

Roel Loopers

 

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