Freo's View

SUNSET J SHED TAVERN ON PLANNING AGENDA

Posted in arthur head, bathers beach, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on December 2, 2017

 

J Shed plans 3

J Shed plans 2

 

The controversial proposal by Sunset Events for a 400-patron tavern and micro-brewery in J Shed at Fremantle’s historic Bathers Beach is on the agenda again at this Wednesday’s Fremantle Council Planning Committee.

The deciding authority is the WA Planning Commission, but the CoF officers recommend that the City’s planning committee refuse the application for following reasons:

OFFICER’S RECOMMENDATION
Planning committee acting under delegation 2.1:

Refer to the Western Australian Planning Commission with a recommendation for REFUSAL under the Metropolitan Region Scheme, the proposed partial change of use to Tavern, and additions and alterations to an existing building at No. 1 (Lot 2051) Fleet Street, Fremantle, as detailed on plans dated 1 November 2017, for the following reasons:

  1. The proposal is inappropriate having regard to the purposes for which the land is reserved under the Metropolitan Region Scheme.
  2. The proposal is inconsistent with objectives 3.1 and 3.2 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF5 – Arthur Head Reserve Strategy Plan.
  3. The proposal is inconsistent with Policy 3 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF6 – Arthur Head – (West End of High Street, Fremantle).
  4. The proposal is inconsistent with clause 3.4 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF26 – Planning Policy for the West End of Victoria Quay.
  5. The proposal is inconsistent with clause 1.1 of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DBU6 – Late Night Entertainment Venues Serving Alcohol.
  6. The proposal is inconsistent with clause 4.1.2(b) of the City of Fremantle’s Local Planning Policy DGF14 – Fremantle West End Conservation Area Policy.

 

The whole tavern idea has become a real farce because initially Fremantle Council approved a 19-year lease for a large tavern and outdoor music area, but now they are scrambling to get out of their ridiculous decision after community outrage. That is unfair to Sunset Events which signed the lease in good faith that they could open a tavern at J Shed.

It was preposterous to believe a tavern would be suitable for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct and historically very significant Arthur Head, so why sign a long-term lease with SE in the first place?!

But now after Fremantle Council approved a lease, they suddenly discover a tavern is not suitable for Arthur Head and want to refuse it. That’s shambolic!

The new proposal cuts off the connectivity between Victoria Quay and the Fishing Boat Harbour and would have a negative impact on the gallery business of the adjoining art studios of Greg James, Janet Nixon, Jina Lee, Lesley Barrett, Jenny Dawson, Ross Potter and Ellen McCarthy, as people would have to walk around the tavern boundaries, when coming from the south, to get to the galleries. That is not acceptable!

Imagine though a beach restaurant in the style of the Swanbourne beach cafe Shorehouse,  Port Beach Coast, or Beaches cafe, Cottesloe, instead of a tavern and brewery. A lovely cafe/restaurant with a big deck to watch the sunset, have breakfast and chill out. Now that would be a good way of activating that part of Bathers Beach.

The item is on the agenda of the Planning Committee this Wednesday December 6 at 6pm.

Roel Loopers

FREO WANTS CREATIVE ARCHITECTURE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on June 7, 2017

 

 

One of the pleasures of living in Fremantle is that one bumps into many people when one wanders the streets, so I was delighted to have a coffee and chat with architect Murray Slavin on the weekend, when he was walking his great dog that loves carrots.

Of course  when Murray and I catch up architecture and development in Fremantle is on the agenda.

I have been thinking for quite a few years why it is that modern development in Fremantle is mainly functional and often not very attractive. We get concrete square boxes instead of heritage of the future buildings.

Too many modern buildings lack attention to detail, there is no softness, no round shapes, just 90 degree corner angles. There are no features and no accentuation of great craftsmanship.

I am not suggesting at all that I would like to see mock heritage, but why don’t developers build small spikes, cupolas, towers, verandahs instead of boring awnings, different shaped  balconies and windows.

Why are there not more architectural features that become the new public art and are part of the building, instead of adding-sometimes inappropriate-art as an after thought.

And why is an eight-storey building just that and hardly ever a building that varies in height and becomes more attractive that way? A roof garden does not have to be on the top, it could be part of the third or fourth floor.

Facades of large development should be split up so that it looks as if there is more than just the one building and it creates a rhythm along the streetscape.

Existing streetscapes are mostly ignored and not respected in this selfie-period of architecture and look at me design, rather that adding to the spatial realm.

Unfortunately planning rules are very restrictive and local governments can’t really not approve building because they are not beautiful enough. I hope state government will improve the rules before we end up with a visual disaster.

Roel Loopers

SHIFTING GOALPOSTS NOT COMMUNITY PROBLEM

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on May 25, 2017

Fremantle Council deferred a decision last night on the application by developers Silverleaf to not go ahead with adding more fritted glass screens to the building, as was agreed on in the planning approval.

The planning officers and Design Advisory Committee wanted Council to  reject the application but an amendment by Councillor Rachel Pemberton is trying to find a compromise.

Pemberton said she was concerned and tried to understand the practical reality of not adding the glass screens, but it is the the original approved plans so why wasn’t it done? But there is no harm done to see if a good compromise can be found.

The DAC said it is very disappointed with the amended proposal as it spent considerable time with the proponent, and a number of design outcomes were negotiated and considered necessary components that lead to the DAC’s conditional approval of the building.

The DAC believes the fritted glass screens address the scale and massing by making the detail behind the glass less legible.

Silverleaf owner Gerard O’Brien said the developer had spent more money into details such as tuck pointing the facades in High and Cantonment streets and that he had been advised by the builders that retrospect adding of the fritted glass screens would be difficult.

I don’t mind the building as it kind of floats over the old facades and the fritted glass screens definitely help to give it that appearance of softness, so I would like to see the developer stick to the plans Fremantle Council approved. They made it more difficult for themselves, and probably more costly now, by not adhering to the plans and making unapproved changes as they went along.

I do understand the triple bottom line and Silverleaf at present developing eight major sites in different councils, but at the end of the day if developers move the goal posts during construction that is a decision they have to live with and pay for. The community should not be told that it is too expensive and troublesome now to do what they agreed on in the first place when they applied for planning approval from council.

Roel Loopers

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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

 

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