Freo's View

HIGH STREET LEGAL DISPUTE EXPLAINED BY FREMANTLE SOLICITORS

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, property, Uncategorized by freoview on May 31, 2019

 

It is very rare that the City of Fremantle releases legal advise, but CEO Philip St John has decided today to release the following letter from McLeods Barristers&Solicitors concerning the property dispute about 123 High Street, which has received a lot of negative criticism. Here are the two pages:

legal 1

legal 2

 

WE DEMAND OUR SAY IN CITY PLANNING!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, development, Uncategorized by freoview on November 17, 2018

 

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This letter to the editors of the West Australian by Ian Kerr of Mt Lawley makes so many valid points about the failures of our planning process that it deserves to be spread around, so that more people can read it and comment on it.

The rights of local communities to have a proper say on city planning have been eroded over the years by giving more power to the Joint Development Assessment Panels(JDAP), SAT and the WA Planning Commission, which often overrule local council decisions and approve inappropriate high and bulky buildings in character suburbs.

Main Roads is all about moving vehicles, with often scant regard for pedestrians and other road users, and JDAP is all about building bigger buildings and higher density, and not about amenity and aesthetics. That needs to change.

Great letter, Ian Kerr! Keep up the good fight!

Roel Loopers

 

PERCENTAGE FOR THE ARTS QUESTIONED BY SAT

Posted in architecture, art, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 28, 2018

 

It is disturbing for WA artists and local governments that the State Administrative Tribunal(SAT) has expressed the opinion that the percentage for the arts policy should not be part of local government development approval.

SAT expressed that the percentage for the arts was just a way for local councils to get public art they would not have to pay for themselves, but that is a very narrow-minded opinion, as culture is extremely important.

Public art enhances the public realm significantly and the percentage for the arts has given local artists opportunities to create significant artwork for which they get commissioned and is an important source of income for them.

If public art should only be paid for by local ratepayers, small and financially struggling councils would never be able to put decent public art in the public realm, and that would mean communities and future generations would mis out on great contemporary creations.

The SAT opinion was expressed during a hearing about new asphalt plants in Hazelmere by BGC, and I do agree that industrial development should be exempt from the percentage for the arts scheme, but that it has to remain in place for commercial and residential development in our councils.

Art is the spice of life and should be accessible to all, not just a few rich councils that can afford to pay for it.

Roel Loopers

RETAIL PENALTY RATES NOT SUPPORTED BY SAT

Posted in business, city of fremantle, local government, retail,, Uncategorized by freoview on May 29, 2018

 

I am not sure at all why Fremantle Council is wasting officers’ time to investigate higher(penalty) rates for long time vacant street level retail spaces, when other councils have already done so, but their plans were rejected by the State Administrative Tribunal.

Blaming ‘greedy’ landlords for empty retail spaces is ignoring the global downturn in retail and online shopping becoming more popular.

It is even more flabbergasting that Fremantle Council has instructed the administration to investigate penalty rates in a time where traffic and parking in the CBD is impacted by the Kings Square redevelopment and more shops have closed in William Street and the Fremantle Mall because of that.

It is pie in the sky thinking that temporary pop ups by amateurs who don’t have the money to invest in a long time sustainable business is a solution for the retail problems Fremantle and the rest of Australia has.

Many traders in Fremantle have closed after only 6-12 months of trading because they did not do any research on the viability of their business in the locations they opened up shop. A cafe in Phillimore Street that took over from another unsuccessful cafe only lasted three months, which shows the naivety and lack of financial backing of some who start a new business.

Don’t waste officers’ time Fremantle Council!

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE SHOULD JOIN ANTI DAP COUNCILS

Posted in city of fremantle, councils, local government by freoview on March 21, 2016

I am surprised and dismayed that the City of Fremantle and Town of East Fremantle still have not officially joined many other councils who have called for the abolition of the State’s Development Assessment Panels-DAP- system, that has received a lot of criticism from communities and councils because it is pro-developers and overrules local council decisions by rubber stamping development applications.

Mosman Park, Vincent, Stirling, Subiaco, South Perth, Nedlands, Cambridge have all joined forces against the DAP but the Fremantle and East Fremantle councils remain silent on this very important issue. Why?

Why is this not on this Wednesday’s agenda for Full Council in Fremantle? Why has this not been debated on council committees and why is Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, who loves mainstream media attention, not all over this?

The DAPs have been eroding local democracy and the State is giving more and more power to unelected bureaucrats. That is not acceptable and we need to strongly protest against it here in Fremantle, as they do in other councils.

If the DAP or SAT would make a ruling that would severely and negatively affect Fremantle’s heritage character it might be too late to protest. They allowed a 16 storey building on the former Subiaco Markets site against the ruling of Subi Council who only wanted to approve a maximum of eight storeys there. That is not on!

There is also not a word from the State opposition and Labor leader Mark McGowan on this and Freo MLA Simone McGurk also has not told us yet that they would abandon the DAP for a better and more democratic system. Where are you Simone?!

If you are worried about the negative impact DAPs have contact your Fremantle and East Fremantle Councillors and tell them to pull their fingers out and step up and join other councils against the DAP! Do it now before it is too late!!! Or email: members@fremantle.wa.gov.au to get an email to all Councillors.

Roel Loopers

STATE DEVELOPMENT PANELS THREATEN LOCAL DEMOCRACY

Posted in city of fremantle, councils, development by freoview on March 11, 2016

Communities, councils and planning experts are getting more and more vocal against inappropriate infill, higher density, and the role the State’s Development Assessment Panels and State Administrative Tribunal play in it.

Already four local councils, including the big City of Vincent, have expressed their dismay about DAPs and want the state government to scrap the process or make it more democratic, because it has a pro-developers bias. The two Councillors on the panels are outnumbered by three public servants, and while developers have the right to challenge the DAP decisions, local councils have not. That is undemocratic.

The Mayor Brad Pettitt Facebook page has a discussion going on about infill, and highly-respected city planner and architect Dr Linley Lutton will argue on Wednesday at UWA that inappropriate infill is destroying communities.

It is disappointing that the  WA Labor party has remained silent on this subject, although I believe it would win them a substantial number of votes if they abandoned the Direction 2031 Liberal party infill targets for more density and the disliked DAPs.

In my personal opinion there is nothing wrong with higher density and higher buildings in the right locations, but the push to have it all happening close to railway stations and public transport corridors is a threat to the lifestyle and unique character of older suburbs such as Fremantle, Subiaco, etc.

It is outrageous that the State agencies overruled Subiaco Council and approved a 16-storey-building on the former market site at Rokeby Road, when council only wants buildings up to eight storeys. Imagine the DAP would have allowed the Atwell Arcade building in Freo to be twice as high and eight storeys instead of four!

The problem of setting indiscriminate infill targets for all local councils is that high density building are popping up in the wrong locations, where they do a lot of damage to the amenity and streetscape and severely and negatively impact on the community. That needs to change!

It is wrong for older suburbs that infill needs to be within walking distance from a train station, when on the outskirts of the CBD there is ample opportunity for higher apartment buildings, and bus routes could be adapted to accommodate more residents in those areas.

I welcome the very substantial development along Fremantle’s Queen Victoria and Beach street and other important new buildings in the CBD, but there is a whole lot more to come with the development of the Woolstores shopping centre site to a possible ten-storey-high mixed use, rumours about the Marilyn New-owned woolstores site at Clancys also talk about substantial height, and the corner of Henry and High street is also on the cards to be developed in the near future, together with the former Workers Club site opposite it.

There is no doubt for me that Fremantle needed development and to modernise and attract more residents to the CBD. It is also essential we build more tourist accommodation in town and I hope that will stop the mad rush of people signing up their homes with Air B&B because that is negatively impacting on neighbours.

It is very good that there is a serious social and mainstream media debate going on about all this, and that some councils are now putting their foot down and say enough is enough, because DAP and SAT are undermining local council democracy, like dictators do with human rights, and that needs to end!

Roel Loopers

 

CHANGE UNDEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT ASSESSMENT PANELS

Posted in city of fremantle, development, local government by freoview on February 25, 2016

I hope the City of Fremantle and all other Councils will follow the lead of the City of Bayswater and lobby the State Government to review and change the DAP-Development Assessment Panels process that is undemocratic and ignores the wishes of local communities and governments.

There is already a huge community swell against the DAP and also the State Administration Tribunal, which basically rubber-stamp planing approvals from developers against local council decisions.

DAP and SAT care little about local planning schemes. The two elected members who represent their local community on the five-person DAP are tokenism as they are outvoted by the three public servant panelists.

We have seen the results of that with the DAP allowing a 16-storey tower on the former market site in the centre of Subiaco, inappropriate height behind the Guildford Hotel, etc.etc.

The DAP is not democratic because it is unbalanced and has a strong 3 to 2 leaning toward being pro-developers and ignoring the democratic process where local governments can decide on the future of their cities. The unique character and lifestyle of older suburbs is under threat by the DAP and SAT who bulldoze away our concerns.

The greatest mockery of the process is that developers can appeal the ruling but local councils and residents can’t. How can that be democratic?!

Now this is something the Fremantle Society should put its teeth in, as the DAP and SAT are a huge threat to Fremantle and could allow buildings that are totally inappropriate for our city to be build, even against the wishes of our council!

Roel Loopers

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W.A. RAPES LOCAL GOVERNMENT DEMOCRACY

Posted in city of fremantle, development, local government by freoview on August 25, 2015

It excites me to see so much development happening in Fremantle but it also very much disappoints me that so many of the new buildings are boring and not at all the heritage of the future we were promised by Fremantle Council.

The one thing we should blame Council for is that they did not tell us the truth and that they should not have promised us anything, because approval for large development is given by the State’s Development Assessment Panel(DAP) and the State Administrative Tribunal(SAT) and Fremantle Council can only recommend against or for an applications in a submission to the State agencies.

What happens at State level reminds me a bit of the time when there was public discussion about rapists who claimed that women did not really mean it when they said no to having sex, being raped. The DAP and SAT also tell us they know what is best for the community and they don’t care that we scream and yell no to bad and inappropriate development.

The State Government says that high-density infill is good for us, so we are supposed to relax, spread our legs and let them have their way with us, so they can brutally destroy the unique character of our older suburbs with ugly out of scale monstrosities. They rape our communities with bad infill!

Two local councillors sit on DAP and often are highly frustrated because there opinion, and that of the community they represent, is overruled by the State bureaucrats who have the majority on the panels and who pretend to know better what is good for our communities. They are pro-developers, not for good appropriate development. The 17-storey building approved on the former Subiaco markets site is a good example of DAP madness and ignoring local government.

The whole planning process has become a joke that erodes local government democracy, and it does not help either to have a Council that is hell-bend on development and willing to compromise on quality too fast. That is disaster in the making.

State Government needs to lessen their influence on local planning and allow the community to decide what they want their suburbs to look like. It is madness to enforce out of scale infill in character suburbs and destroy their unique ambience when there is plenty of space for higher density buildings on the periphery.

Godlin Barnett and his disciples need to stop ramming their development religion down our throat and listen instead to what we want, and that is great modern and exceptional development in the right areas.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! The truly independent

Stop press! This just from WA Today:

Applecross residents vow to continue fighting two-storey, 24-hour McDonald’s after mediation hearing at the State Administrative Tribunal failed.

Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/#ixzz3jmiugC4D
Follow us: @watoday on Twitter | WAtoday on Facebook

W.A. STATE GOVERNMENT IGNORES LOCAL COMMUNITY

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, planning by freoview on December 9, 2014

Local Government expert Lawyer Denis McLeod was the guest speaker at the Fremantle Society AGM on Monday evening and presented his well-researched lecture “The Growing Gap Between Interest and Planning in W.A”

McLeod said that “There is no doubt that in WA, since 1928, there has been a quantum change in town planning responsibility away from the community.” He then went at length through the history of local government and town planning and noted that ” A feature of various Redevelopment Acts is that they involve direct intervention by the State Government agencies in the land development process…” and that the Minister has the ability to control the local planning scheme making and amendment process.

McLeod also warned about the important role of the “…..expert dominated DAPs…” who often determine development applications and where the three experts control the DAPs often overrule the two local council representatives. (For Fremantle they are Deputy Mayor Josh Wilson and Councillor Andrew Sullivan). Denis McLeod said that these …“experts are frequently planning professionals, who depend for their livelihoods on the patronage of the development industry….”

He pointed out that WA has a unique position in Australia where third-parties have no rights of appeal against planning decisions.

He warned that the concept of amenity is supposed to provide for protection of local character but that the view in WA is that this is often decided by expert planners rather than local community input and concerns. “Community representatives are commonly given little weight or credibility as witnesses of amenity impact, yet it is their interest that amenity is supposed to reflect.”

McLeod said that the shift in planning has essentially moved away from community representation and concern in favour of promoting development and in support of the interests of the development industry.

I believe the often heard argument that State Government and some local councils are pro-developers rather than pro-development is something we should all be very concerned about. It was fantastic to hear an expert on Local Government talk about that last night. Thanks you Denis McLeod!

Roel Loopers

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DAP IGNORES FREO COUNCIL WISHES

Posted in fremantle by freoview on October 14, 2014

It is disappointing that yet again the State’s Design Advisory Panel has ignored a recommendation by Fremantle Council. This time it’s about a new building for Leighton Beach where Freo Council wanted the requirement that street level would be built so it is adaptable to become commercial in the future and not be kept residential indefinitely. The DAP disappointingly did not see the need for street level activation and ignored the COF recommendations.

This is an ongoing problem and something the residents of North Fremantle also have to be very aware of. Over 100 met today at the North Freo Community Hall to find out first hand what building heights to expect on proposed sites under the Amendment to Local Planning Policy 3.11 that deals with McCabe Street and the former Matilda Bay Brewery site.

Even when Freo Council caps the heights at 33 metres maximum the DAP can overrule that, and are known to have done that in other councils.

My observation tonight was that the majority of people do not understand the planning process and do not know the limitations of local government.

It would be good for the City of Fremantle to produce a leaflet and on-line about how the process works, what the DAP and SAT are there for and what the limitations for local council are.

And looking at the presentation and 3D shadow impact, I wonder why Council always shows development as one huge box, when in reality that is unlikely to happen. Can’t we have three images showing building form/footprint possibilities, so no one gets too paranoid about a huge bulky box that will never be built.

There was something special and very community about the respectful meeting with next door in the adjoining hall kids learning how to play instruments. I thought that was rather cute.

Nice to see Mayor Brad Pettitt and Councillors Andrew Sullivan and Dough Thompson at the meeting and also Fremantle Society president Henty Farrar.

Democracy is still very much alive in good old Freo.

Roel Loopers

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