Freo's View

ROYAL GEORGE FUTURE IN DOUBT AGAIN

 

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The future of the heritage listed Royal George hotel in East Fremantle remains in doubt with owners Saracen Properties telling East Freo council that a seven-storey limit for the site is not financially viable for them to develop because they need a minimum plot ratio of 2:1 to make it work. Saracen had proposed a 21 storey residential tower behind the old hotel.

The Town of East Fremantle Council passed amendments last week with new restrictions for development and a maximum height of seven storeys.

It is great to hear though that Saracen has confirmed they will go ahead with the $ 6 million restoration of the beautiful building and will start with that next year.

W.A. Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has the final say in this, so let’s wait and see what the outcome will be.

Roel Loopers

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WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL?

 

 

It is always a sad thing to see the beautiful Royal George hotel in East Fremantle so neglected and not knowing what the future of the heritage listed building will be.

Saracen Properties bought the hotel last year and came up with a beautiful restoration plan for the building, but to be able to do the costly restoration they also wanted to build a 21 storey apartment highrise behind the old building. That was refused and the Town of East Fremantle council has now approved a scheme amendment for the site that only allows a maximum of seven storeys, and that is apparently not enough and not financially viable for the developers to go ahead with the restorations.

So what will happen now? The building has been vacant and neglected for far too many years and while the Friends of Royal George were yelling and screaming against Saracen’s planning proposal they are not very vocal about the building remaining unused and not cared for.

Come on East Freo, urgent action should be taken!

Roel Loopers

NEW BRUSH FACTORY, BUT IS IT BEAUTIFUL?

 

 

The fences finally came down along the Brush Factory development on the corner of Duke and George streets in East Fremantle, so I went to have another look at it this morning.

I know that beauty is difficult to quantify because it has different meanings for all of us, but I do find the modern top-level addition on the old building quite intriguing, while some other parts are just not my cup of tea.

I do not like the darkness the dark bricks create along Duke Street, where apartment buildings have been added, and I find that the northern side of development, which faces the old Royal George hotel, has very strange and awkward angles, almost as if much of it was an after-thought that was added to it.

But the epic development of the former Lauder&Howard antiques building has finally been completed and incorporates the Duke of George jazz and blues bar, so it is in part a good addition for the area.

In the meantime graffiti vandals have started to deface the Royal George again and it is still not known if Saracen Properties will go ahead with the development there after all, when they are only allowed to have a seven-storey building behind the former hotel.

Roel Loopers

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NO HIGHRISE FOR ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL

 

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The Fremantle Herald has got a nice scoop today about Planning Minister Rita Saffioti putting a seven-storey cap on future development of the Royal George Hotel site in East Fremantle.

East Fremantle Council only wanted to allow six-storeys but the minister has instructed them to re-advertise Amendment 28 for a month.

According to the Chook Minister Saffioti has said any future development of the site  will have to be passed by the new State Design Review Panel, which seems absurd as a substantial development like that would have to be approved by a WA Joint Development Assessment Panel anyway.

It is premature for the Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk to claim that the Royal George will be developed to its former glory, since Saracen Properties, which owns the building, have previously stated they need the proposed 21-storey highrise to compensate for the restoration investment of the building.

Saracen told the Herald that it has concerns that it could make a substantially lower building work, but that a seven-storey building would be a big and bulky one.

Roel Loopers

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LACKLUSTRE PROTEST AGAINST ROYAL GEORGE HIGHRISE

 

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About one hundred people, including Labor politicians Josh Wilson MP and Lisa O’Malley MLA, turned up at East Fremantle’s Locke Park on Saturday morning to attend the protest by the Friends of the Royal George agains the planned 20 storey high-rise at the Royal George Hotel in Duke Street.

Only East Freo artist Tony Jones questioned where the Friends of the Royal George had been during the last 20 years when the building was neglected, and that is probably a fair question.

It was a disappointingly lacklustre event though with no speeches or formal gathering, and when I asked one of the display and petition table attendants if we could get a group shot he replied that it was too difficult to get the small crowd together.

Many people just trundled off after a while as nothing was happening, so I suggest the East Freo “Friends” get some coaching from Fremantle groups on how to organise a proper protest rally.

Roel Loopers

EAST FREO ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL PROTEST ON SATURDAY

 

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East Fremantle residents and heritage supporters will be holding a protest tomorrow against the proposed development by Saracen Properties of a 19 storey high-rise building at the Royal George Hotel in Duke Street.

The protest gathering will be this Saturday at 10.30 am at Locke Park on the corner of Fletcher and Moss streets, north of East Fremantle Oval.

East Fremantle Council approved a scheme amendment of a maximum of six storeys, but that has been rejected by the WA Planning Commission, which wants changes made to the amendment, and East Freo locals fear they might end up with the huge high-rise they strongly petitioned against.

Roel Loopers

1,800 PETITION AGAINST ROYAL GEORGE HIGHRISE

 

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East Fremantle residents against the proposed development by Saracen Properties of an 19 storey highrise building behind the heritage-listed Royal George Hotel in Duke Street have lobbied the State Government by presenting an 1,800 signatures strong petition to the Member of Fremantle Simone McGurk.

East Fremantle Council has rejected the proposal, as the scheme amendment for the area only allows for buildings up to six storeys high, but now the State’s South West Joint Development Assessment Panel-JDAP will consider the development proposal.

Roel Loopers

FRIENDS OF ROYAL GEORGE AGAINST HIGHRISE

 

 

The news that The Friends of Royal George community group has been established in East Fremantle makes sense as it is always important for state government agencies to be aware of the feelings in the community, even when East Fremantle Council’s Royal George scheme amendment only allows for six storey buildings in the area.

Saracen Properties wants to build a slim 15 storey tower on top of a four storey podium, but it is unlikely JDAP or SAT would approve that under the present local scheme.

People point out that a state agency approved 16 storeys on the former Subiaco market site, but that is very different from the East Freo proposal. The Subi site is only metres away from the train station and bus transport and that does not apply to the East Fremantle location that is miles away from the Fremantle railway station and not that close to other forms of public transport either.

While I personally quite like the elegant tall spike designed by Michael Patroni’s spaceagency and do believe a landmark highrise would be appropriate in that location, I also believe that the 19 storey proposal does not adequately address the urban infill requirements of the state government.

When we impose very high buildings on a low rise community the main purpose of the development should be to create many new homes for many people, and not as is the case at the Royal George a mere 40 apartments for a few selected well off on 15 floors.

I am not sure if Saracen Properties will present their proposal to JDAP or come up with a much lower building. The architects told me some weeks ago that they are still looking at it on the computer.

Roel Loopers

 

FUTURE OF EAST FREO’S ROYAL GEORGE IN DOUBT

 

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The future of the heritage-listed Royal George Hotel in Duke Street, East Fremantle is in jeopardy after the East Fremantle Council on Wednesday approved a scheme amendment that will only allow six storey buildings in the precinct, without discretionary additional height.

Saracen properties have proposed to refurbish the beautiful old building but to make that financially lucrative for the developers they wanted a 21-storey slim tower on the vacant site behind the hotel.

It is highly unlikely that Saracen will now continue with their proposal, but abandon it, which will severely bring into doubt the future of the Royal George, that has been vacant and derelict for far too many years.

It would be a real shame if a compromise can’t be found, but the new scheme amendment does not allow for much give and take.

Roel Loopers

ROYAL GEORGE HEIGHT A HUGE PROBLEM

 

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It will be an interesting Planning Committee session at the Town of East Fremantle tonight, with Council debating a Scheme Amendment for the historic Royal George Hotel site at Duke Street.

Saracen Properties have proposed a 21-storey building behind the heritage listed building, but that has received huge community criticism, as was to be expected.

There is not yet a planning proposal by Saracen at the Town of East Fremantle and the final decision authority is the WA JDAP, but the proposed Scheme Amendment to be discussed this evening is to only allow a seven-storey building that does not exceed 36 metres on the vacant part behind the former hotel.

Several public submissions even argued against a seven-storey building and want only 3-4 storeys behind the heritage building

Saracen made it clear during community consultation that they can’t spend millions of dollars on refurbishing the old Royal George unless they get considerable height allowance. A much lower building is not financially viable according to the proponents.

It is known that JDAP and SAT do overrule local government decisions, so even if Council tonight decide to approve the proposed Scheme Amendment Saracen might still put forward the 21-storey building at JDAP.

It would be an utter shame if nothing would happen again and if the Royal George remained a vacant and derelict eyesore for another ten years.

Roel Loopers

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