Freo's View


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on March 8, 2018


South Street


Councillors believed there was a lot to like about this quite intriguing design for the development of the eyesore site on the corner of South Street and Hampton Road in South Fremantle, but it was just a little bit too much for the Planning Committee of Fremantle Council, so they deferred their decision in the hope that Hillam Architects will be able to reduce the height and plot ratio of the building.

Councillors agreed that there was a lot to like about the application but it was above the R80 code for the area and that was not acceptable to them.

I must admit I sometimes don’t understand how planning and R Codes work and why Fremantle Council supports second dwellings and tiny houses on relatively small blocks, but why an excellent modern design like this along Hampton Road is not allowed to push the envelope just a little bit, when just before Councillors approved a fifth storey on a four-storey site at Henderson Street.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, real estate, Uncategorized by freoview on March 6, 2018




I spoke with an always thoughtful Fremantle resident at the South Ward candidate forum last week, who was very concerned that the glut of new development in the CBD is threatening the Freo lifestyle we all love.

The man, who has lived in Fremantle for a very long time, is not against development or higher density but feels that it is all happening too fast and I kind of agree with him.

There is a massing of apartment development that is rationally and emotionally hard to accept for many in the community, because it needs a longer and slower period to getting used to the new modern Fremantle. People are concerned that it seems to be happening too fast and over night, and that worries those who love the laid back lifestyle in Fremantle.

The tsunami of residential apartments is like a huge wave that threatens to drown that special and unique Freo lifestyle.

You won’t get an argument from me that we need more people living and working in Fremantle and more visitors to stay overnight in hotels to boost our local economy, but it needs to be done more deliberately because we seem to be getting more of the same and not the required variety of development to encourage diversity.

I agree with restrained and targeted urban infill because the urban sprawl clearly can’t go on indefinitely, but the pace of it in Fremantle needs to be slowed down. Urban infill needs to be better spread around the councils. Mosman Park and other western suburbs do very little to fill the government set infill targets while Fremantle is in a mad rush to change the special character of the old city irreversibly in the hope that it will rejuvenate and activate our city.

There is a lack of diversity in the new planned development that will not attract many families. Why don’t developers also offer 2-3 storey townhouses in the residential mix in our CBD? Imagine, instead of a four storey carpark, the Woolstores development had a row of 3-4 storey townhouses along Cantonmment Street between the two bookend highrise buildings

Life is all about balance and while Fremantle Council has done very well to attract development, we are just not getting the right mix and the desired outstanding architectural quality.

We are now on the road to modernisation so let’s stop behaving like beggars and accept just about anything developers propose. Fremantle needs quality and diverse development in the inner city, not just a wave of small apartments in ugly high buildings!

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on March 3, 2018


Fremantle’s Silverleaf Investments have applied for building approval for the former Henderson Street Police and Justice complex and Warders Cottages which they bought last year.

The plans will go before the City of Fremantle’s Planning Committee this coming Wednesday at 6pm.

The proposal is for a five-storey hotel, tavern, restaurant, shops and offices development.

The decision making authority is the WA Joined Development Assessment Panel-JDAP.

I was under the impression that the planning scheme only allows for four storey in that historically very significant precinct just a stone’s throw for the World Heritage listed Fremantle Prison, but the Officer’s Recommendation is for approval.

If the additional fifth storey is discretionary height is should be refused because the hotel building is bland and shows no connection to the heritage surroundings.

There are concerns in the report about the neighbouring Drillhall, which will be opened by Sunset Events as a full-time live music venue in November this year, so the recommendation is for 10mm thick glass in the hotel windows. Consultants for the Drillhall believe they glass should be even thicker to keep the concert noise out of the hotel rooms.

Check out the architect impressions on the City of Fremantle website. They are in the separate agenda attachments, but my Acrobat Reader is playing up this morning so I can’t copy any images to show you here. Sorry! ; >(


Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, local government, parking, real estate, Uncategorized by freoview on March 1, 2018


Residents of the Warders Cottages in the Henderson Street mall got their application for special parking permits approved by Fremantle Council last night, but I am not sure they will be totally happy with it.

Council decided to approve one permit per residency at 50% of the prescribed parking rate in any of the City of Fremantle owned carparks, so about $ 1,600 per annum.

It does however not supply a reserved bay in a specific carpark and that means that especially on busy weekends the Henderson Street residents will have to take pot luck and hope to find a  car bay near their home, or they might have to park as far away from their home as the Italian Club or Roundhouse carparks.

Councillors and officers were very aware not to set a precedent for future high density buildings and the present Local Law states that residential parking permits do not apply for buildings with more than nine residential units.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on February 26, 2018


KS 2


Exciting to see that part of the facade of the Queensgate building has been demolished to make way for the Fremantle Kings Square Project.

Big machinery arrived and the demolition will progress fast from now on. I also heard a lot of noise from jackhammers in the former Myer/Many building.

Down the road in Henry Street demolition has also started on the former Fremantle Workers Club, to make way for a four-storey residential development in the historic West End.

Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on February 22, 2018


The new City of Fremantle Strategic Planning and Transport Committee met for the first time last evening at the Townhall with only two items on the agenda; the Kings Square public realm concept plan and Local Planning Policy 2.21-R60.

I reported on the Kings Square plans earlier this week so just some details of the new development plans draft that was considered and adopted last night. The entire draft can be viewed on-line on the CoF website. Click on agendas and minutes and view the agenda there.

Here some considerations that stood out for me:

Under clause 4.2.5 of the City’s Local Planning Scheme No. 4 (LPS4), the residential density of sites in the Local Centre, Neighbourhood Centre and Mixed Use zones may be increased up to R60 where the development application:

  1. Proposes ‘mixed use development’ as defined in the City’s Scheme.
  2. Would not be detrimental to the amenity of an area.

A policy has been prepared to provide guidance on the criteria against which impact on amenity will be assessed under Clause 4.2.5 of LPS4 in order to provide greater certainty and consistency of decision-making, and promote better built form and community outcomes. The draft policy has the following key elements:

Recognise that mixed use zones and local/neighbourhood centres have potential to accommodate higher density and intensity, but within which new development should acknowledge and be respectful of existing / traditional development as part of a responsible evolution.

Stipulate that the deemed-to-comply standards (excluding site area) of the base density are acceptable as a starting point for R60 development.

Where the base code deemed-to-comply standards are not met, consider variations up to the R60 coding only where assessed to not be detrimental to the surrounding area based on a series of considerations as set out in the policy relating to the impact on amenity; including impact on streetscape, heritage character, neighbour amenity, traffic and safety, impact on trees and quality of the built environment.

Stipulate some specific requirements / expectations in regards to commonly contested aspects including that plot ratio in excess of the deemed-to-comply standard for R60 will not be supported.

Require a site context assessment to accompany any proposal seeking an increase in density beyond the base coding.

It should be noted that the clause seeks to avoid detrimental amenity to the area rather than to specific individual lots, which requires Council to take a broader view of impact than solely that of the neighbour/s. Similarly, the definition of amenity in the Planning Regulations defines this in relation to the character of an area. This does not, of course, preclude neighbour impacts from forming a key consideration in assessing amenity impacts. The reference to ‘future amenity’ allows for application of the definition in new development areas or areas subject to revitalisation schemes and the like.

Site analysis and design response: requiring the preparation of these to inform any proposal

Orientation: requiring proposals to “respond to the streetscape and site while optimising solar access within the development” and building form and orientation which “minimises overshadowing on neighbouring properties”

Existing tree retention: requiring mature trees on site (or are clearly identifiable on site through aerial images from the last 5 years) for retention or replacement or offset Deep soil areas (12% of site where no trees retained): to support healthy plant and tree growth, and provision of trees proportionate to the size of the site

Communal and public open space: where more than 10 dwellings are proposed

Visual privacy: including a ‘cone of vision’ similar to that specified under the R-Codes (albeit lesser) and a minimum of 25% of the perimeter of balconies unscreened, and a requirement to site and design development to “increase privacy without compromising access to light and air and balance outlook and views from habitable rooms and private open space”

Public domain interface: considering CEPTED principles and promoting a functional and pleasing interface with the street which makes provision for services, landscaping of terraces and excludes parking

Pedestrian access and entries: which requires safe and ‘legible’ entries to buildings

Vehicle access points: requiring these to be designed and located to minimise streetscape impacts whilst avoiding conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles

Car and bicycle parking: to be provided at specified rates and designed to be functional but minimise visual impact


Roel Loopers




Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on February 14, 2018




What a coincidence to just see an article on Facebook about a rooftop garden on a Melbourne shopping centre, when I only yesterday talked with North Fremantle architect Murray Slavin about the opportunity lost to do something similar with the proposed Woolstores shopping centre development in Fremantle.

Besides the poor design qualities of the proposed development, Murray and I both lamented that a rooftop garden for residents and hotel guests on top of the four-storey carpark had not been included in the development, as that would lift it to another level.

I also sugested that to indicate the bulk of a woolstores the two towers of the development could be linked at the top with massive steel beams, so that there is an impression of bulk, but it does not fill up the space above the carpark.

Unfortunately we are getting very conservative and rather boring new development in Fremantle and that is partly to blame on a council that is so keen on economic recovery that it is willing to compromise far too easily on the beauty and aesthetics of new buildings.

Fremantle is unique and that unique character needs to be acknowledged with creative and outstanding design!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, housing, property, real estate, Uncategorized by freoview on January 31, 2018


North Fremantle was the leading suburb in real estate price growth in 2017 according to REIWA.

Median house prices in North Freo jumped by 26.3%, with Applecross coming second with 24% and Dalkeith third with 20.9%.

Bicton also did well with a 17% increase in median house prices.


Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, planning, Uncategorized by freoview on January 26, 2018



A City if Fremantle Special Planning Committee will be held on January 31 to consider the design and planning principles for the proposed development of the Woolstores shopping centre site.

Silverleaf Investments is proposing a 4-10 storey mixed use development that will be a public carpark, shops, hotel, offices, student accommodation and aged and dependant persons accommodation.

The agenda states that the planning officers and Design Advisory Committee believe the plans have merit to develop into a scheme capable of satisfying the scheme provisions to exceptional design quality, which I find hard to believe

While I quite like the modern and light five-storey container shape with porthole windows idea for the hotel there is a severe disconnect to the red brick four-storey podium it is resting on.

The rest of the very large building is boring, plain, sombre, unimaginative standard red brick nothingness that does not qualify at all to get design excellence standards, and surprisingly the officers recommend to increase the use of red bricks, which will just enhance the darkness of the building and increase its blandness.

Woolstores 2

Here some snippets from the agenda:

The design and planning principles this report will consider are as follows:

  •   The proposed brick podium component of the development and its empathetic response to the scale and architectural character of the adjacent Elders Woolstores
  •   The Hotel building located at the Queen Street end of the site and the Aged Care (Retirement Living) building located at the Goldsbrough Street end of the site particularly the external appearance of the upper floors of these buildings.
  •   The location, design and activation of the proposed mid-block pedestrian link.
  •   The presentation of the proposed development to the corner of Queen Street and

    Elder Street, specifically the interaction of the Hotel lobby with Queen Street.

Brick Podium

The proposal includes the construction of a brick podium base to the development of approximately 4-5 storeys in height, extending across the whole site. The DAC has been consistent in its encouragement to the applicant to respond more emphatically to the scale and ‘weight’ of the remaining former Woolstores building on Elder Place.

The applicant has been encouraged to use brick as a utilitarian and structural element of the proposal to produce a meaningful representation of the scale and ‘weight’ (in an architectural sense) of the adjacent Elders Woolstores. The current concept uses brick as the primary material for the podium, however its use has evolved more into a decorative screen rather than an essential structural element of the podium. The proposed use of brick as a primary material is still supported, however the applicant is encouraged to develop the design of the podium as discussed below.

In my opinion the overall visual appeal of the building is very disappointing, with only the hotel component as a stand out of modern architecture, while the rest is 1970s design that is unbecoming to modernising the boring east of the Fremantle CBD.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, development, education, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on November 13, 2017



Notre Dame University has bough the Fremantle Customs House site that comprises of  three buildings, from the corner of Phillimore and Henry Street all the way to Pakenham Street.

This will give the university significant space to expand and also to consider student accommodation in the heart of Fremantle’s historic West End.

It will also allow NDA to release street level spaces to lease for commercial use and much-desired activation at street level.

Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond said As with all of our projects we will proceed with the redevelopment of Customs House fully mindful of our role as a key member of the Fremantle community and the need to preserve the architectural integrity of such a historically significant building,” 

Although we have not yet decided on the building’s use, the vast floor area and the building’s three-street frontage, will provide flexibility of use and much needed space as the University continues to develop.

And with our commitment to the Notre Dame West End Activation program, it will be an important contributor to the continued revitalisation of the city’s West End,” Professor Hammond said.

A five-storey development of the Customs House complex was only recently rejected by Fremantle Council and the WA Development Assessment Panel, so it is great to see our local university acquiring the properties as it will bring real activation to the West End, especially if student accommodation there becomes a reality.

The university will also continue planning the development of 3-5 High Street, corner Cliff Street, and while these plans are being finalised they are planning beautification of the vacant eyesore.

Well done Notre Dame!!

Roel Loopers

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