Freo's View

DOLLAR SIGNS BLINDING WEST END VISION

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage by freoview on March 29, 2017

 

Anyone who believes that this is appropriate development for Pakenham Street in Fremantle’s historic West End must have rocks in their head and dollar signs blinding their vision.

This is disrespectful rubbish that has no place in a street of stunning facades and in a historically very significant  and unique heritage precinct.

Those who take our history for granted assist in helping to destroy our future.

Roel Loopers

 

TWO HUGE NEW FREMANTLE DEVELOPMENTS

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, western australia by freoview on March 7, 2017

EXCLUSIVE!

Two big new developments in the Fremantle CBD are not far from reality. My ears are always on the ground and my eyes on the ball to pick up interesting news on the Freo grapevine and this news is huge!

It hear the derelict woolstores building opposite Clancy’s could be developed in the not too far distance. My informants tell me that Sirona Capital has shown interest in developing the heritage-listed building opposite Princess May Park that is owned by Marilyn New, the former owner of the Esplanade Hotel.

This eyesore has been an embarrassment for decades for Fremantle residents and businesses and a very ugly welcome sign for cruise ship passengers, so it would be great to see it developed and the building occupied again.

There will be a meeting about the plans at Hotel Australia next week, but I doubt it will be a public meeting.

In other news I hear that Freo developers Silverleaf have submitted their proposal to the City of Fremantle for a mixed development on the Woolstores shopping centre site at Cantonment Street.

The initial plans were not very good I have been told and the developers got frustrated having to change them several times while working with CoF planning officers and the Design Advisory Committee, but one elected member told me that the submitted plans “look surprisingly good.”

Planning Scheme Amendment 49 for that specific location allows for up to 11 storeys, if my memory is correct, so expect the proposal to be for a very large and high development.

My understanding is that the development will happen in two stages and that it involves a hotel, commercial and residential floor space and ground-level retail, so stay tuned.

The development of these two major sites in the East CBD is huge, especially in context of the planned and approved Hilton Doubletree, Spotlight and former Energy Museum sites developments.

The modernisation of that part of the inner city that is known as ‘Little Beirut’ will greatly enhance Fremantle’s tourism and retail potential and is another significant step forward to a prosperous future for our city.

Roel Loopers

FORGETTABLE ARCHITECTURE SUCKS ESSENCE OUT OF WEST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage by freoview on February 10, 2017

North Fremantle architect Murray Slavin has written an excellent Thinking Allowed in the Fremantle Herald today about the quality of architecture in Fremantle’s heritage West End.

Slavin Architects designed the stunning heritage of the future Mediterranean Shipping Company building in Cliff Street that connects to the old Wilhelmsen building on the corner of Phillimore Street.

Slavin writes that the proposed five-storey Notre Dame University building for the corner of High and Cliff streets needs a rethink, as I have suggested a few times on Freo’s View.

He says that “A clear and present danger is that the West End will become characterised by the lowest common denominator architecture” and that the historic area should not be “dumbed down to a forgettable architecture form that sucks the essence out of its neighbourhood.” Hear, hear!!

Murray Slavin states that it is time to live up to community expectations with a clear understanding of Fremantle’s social and physical context.

“Many buildings appearing in the West End could be from any Australian city” and show little respect for the historic buildings around them, the North Freo architect writes.

Make sure to get a copy of the Freo Chook and read the entire article and many other good ones in this week’s issue.

The deadline for submissions against the in my opinion totally inappropriate building proposal by Notre Dame is February 13, so email your opposition to it to the City of Fremantle NOW. Go to the CoF website for a submission form!

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS SPATIAL AWARENESS

Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, community, history by freoview on February 1, 2017

The Streetwise column in the West Australian property section by architect and lecturer in architecture Dr Simon Pendal should be a must read for Fremantle Councillors and planning officers because Pendal’s expert opinion is significant for the way Fremantle develops.

Pendal writes that In an increasingly global world, we should not be afraid to be provincial and to work with an awareness of our individual and shared mental space. This is important to keep certain areas ‘proudly identifiable’ he argues.

This strongly applies to retaining Fremantle’s unique character and is even more significant in the West End and in regard to the, in my opinion unacceptable, development proposal by Notre Dame University for the corner of High and Cliff streets.

Dr. Pendal argues that design that renders all places equal fails to recognise the ‘local mental space’ of a street or suburb, and he writes that we have a kind of common spatial understanding that we shape and that shapes us. The historic West End of Fremantle no doubt has done that for many decades and needs to be protected from inappropriate architecture.

I believe people connect to these spaces, relate to them and feel a sense of belonging and proud ownership. That is why many want to live in Fremantle because it is unique, has a special character and connects us to our roots of history.

Community is not just about people but about lifestyle, a common ground and the awareness that we are sharing this exceptional city and are the custodians of it, to pass it on to future generations; changed, improved and developed, but with deep respect and consideration for the past.

That is not happening in Freo at the moment, where ugly and mediocre buildings are being approved and many more proposed, to the detriment of our city’s character. We can and must do a whole lot better than that!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE INSOLVENCY CLAIM RIDICULOUS

Posted in city of fremantle, development, fremantle society, kings square, local government by freoview on January 25, 2017

Claims by the Fremantle Society that the City of Fremantle is insolvent were strongly rejected as ridiculous by Deputy Mayor Dave Coggin at the Ordinary Council meeting on Wednesday. Coggin demanded that the Society would send him the report by the certified public accountant they claim had provided the Fremantle Society with the advise that the City was technically insolvent.

Another ridiculous claim by the Fremantle Society was the lack of community consultation on the Kings Square Project.

I don’t know where these people were when Planning Scheme Amendment 49 was debated and the Fremantle Society under my presidency had a scale model in shopping centres to show the proposed heights, which we rejected and wanted lowered, but we did not succeed.

There was also extensive community consultation on the Kings Square development and even a Citizen Jury which I addressed on behalf of the Society, and I went to all the other community meetings to make suggestions. One outcome of that was that Newman Court now no longer will have vehicular access and parking.

Also ridiculous is the expectation that a private developer like Sirona Capital would make the roof tops of the two new buildings accessible to the public. Who is going to pay for security and public liability and how many privately owned buildings in the Perth CBD have public roof top access?

More ridiculousness in the claim that Fremantle Council has a conflict of interest in recommending to JDAP approval for the two Kings Square buildings. The City is not the decision-making authority, and as Councillor Doug Thompson pointed out as a body Council cannot have a conflict of interest or perception of that, but individual Councillors need to make their own decision if they believe they do have a conflict of or financial interest, which none of them declared.

Saying that Council cannot debate the development of a property they have sold would mean for example Council could not make planning approval for the Hilton Doubletree hotel development on the Point Street carpark site the City sold.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton said Sirona Capital was very serious about creating the best possible outcome and had even instigated workshops to improve the building design and enhance the character of the inner city. High calibre people from all sections of the community had attended the Sirona workshops and we will get an outcome we all will be proud of, Pemberton said.

Planning officers told Council and the public gallery that the developers had made significant changes over the last three months in collaboration with the Design Advisory Committee and the DAC now believed the design was at a stage where it was acceptable for them to recommend approval, but more changes would be required and be part of the City’s recommendation to JDAP.

Roel Loopers

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

KINGS SQUARE DESIGN ON FREO CITY AGENDA

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, kings square, local government by freoview on January 23, 2017

Ordinary Council of the City of Fremantle will on Wednesday evening debate the design of the Myer and Queensgate buildings that will start the Kings Square development.

The planning authority for the buildings is the WA Joint Assessment Panel, not CoF, but Councillors will send a recommendation to JDAP, so it is important still for the community to have their say on it.

I like it that the initial design has evolved and the buildings are now separated through a shopping mall between them that will go from Newman Court through to William Street. For security reasons there will be gates on either end so it will not be accessible to the public, and anti-social elements, after hours.

There is also a five cinema complex part of the development and plans for bars, restaurants and cafes to make Kings Square a 24/7 destination.

The new Civic building will also be built at the same time and should be ready to move in by the start of 2020 if all goes to plan.

I support the development of Kings Square as I believe it is essential for the economic recovery of Fremantle, so bring it on asap!

You can view the plans and proposal on the City of Fremantle website. Click on Minutes and Agendas on the top left of the page and download the agenda.

Roel Loopers

 

STOP DISRESPECTFUL DEVELOPMENT IN WEST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, notre dame university by freoview on January 23, 2017

unda-high-street

 

This is the boring bland building proposal for the corner of High and Cliff streets in Fremantle’s historic West End that Notre Dame University believes is good enough and acceptable for the heritage listed area. It isn’t by a long stretch.

I am a big fan and supporter of Notre Dame, but this is just not on!

Please do write your submissions to the City of Fremantle and the WA Joint Development Assessment Panel before February 13 as we cannot allow the destruction of Freo’s historic West End through uninspiring architecture that shows no respect whatsoever for the historic significance of the area. This building needs to be stopped at all cost!

Go to Community Engagement on the CoF website (top left) and submit your objection to this boring building.

Roel Loopers

FREO’S PLANNING PROCESS NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, planning by freoview on January 13, 2017

18-22-adelaide-street-development-plans

 

At the Planning Commission on Wednesday evening the Chair of the City of Fremantle’s Design Advisory Committee Professor Geoffrey London expressed concerns about the proposed building for 18-22 Adelaide Street and how it would impact on the public realm, etc.

It made me wonder if the planning process needs to be adjusted to give more power to the DAC and make developers and their architects aware that unless the DAC suggested changes to the design are made the building application will not progress and be put in front of the Elected Members.

It is a waste of time to bring a planning approval to the Councillors when the expert architect panel is not happy with the design plans, hence the deferrals and delays we are getting and applicants are upset about.

It seems very strange that the DAC still has concerns but the planning and heritage officers recommended approval for the in my opinion totally unsuitable building for historic Kings Square.

It is likely there are inflated egos involved in the process and architects not wanting to take advise from other architects who are on the DAC, but tough titties to those who design shit and want us to believe we are looking at red roses.

I cannot at all understand that planning officers recommend approval when DAC architects have serious concerns, and the idea that this can be sorted after planning approval has been given is ridiculous because the developers will believe they got away with it.

In this case the developer is expecting discretionary additional height for an boring, ugly box and wants even more reward for building rubbish by asking to be exempt from paying the percentage for art/heritage sum.

Kings Square is a very precious and historically significant area of Fremantle and nothing but the best is good enough. As Councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge said, we want beautiful buildings!

Roel Loopers

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UGLY KINGS SQUARE BUILDING BACK TO DRAWING BOARD

Posted in city of fremantle, development, heritage by freoview on January 11, 2017

The building proposal for a five-storey tourist accommodation at 18-22 Adelaide Street at Fremantle’s Kings Square was unanimously deferred by the City of Fremantle Planning Commission tonight.

Public speakers objected to the proposal because of inappropriate height, heritage concerns and deemed it detrimental to adjoining properties and the public amenity.

It was pointed out also hat approving this inappropriate building would set a precedent for other property owners in the area.

Occupants of units at the Cantonment Street Dodson’s building behind the proposed development claimed it would negatively affect their lifestyle, sun light and air flow into their building and were also concerned about the staircase being too close to their living areas which would result in noise issues.

Committee chair Jon Strachan said he believed the proposal had not met the requirements to allow for discretionary additional heights and it would not create the best heritage outcomes.

Councillors Hannah Fitzhardinge and David Coggin expressed that a message needed to be sent to developers that we want high quality buildings in the inner city, especially at historic Kings Square, while professor Geoffrey Bolton said the CoF Design Advisory Committee were concerned about the impact on the public realm.

Councillor Jeff McDonald said we needed to respect what we already have at Kings Square and a five storey spike would impact on the Townhall.

It now has to be seen if the developer and architect will listen to the concerns of the community, elected members and Design Advisory Committee and make substantial changes. The developer murmured when he walked out that this was like Italy under Mussolini and that one could not even do what one wants with one’s own property.

Roel Loopers

 

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