Freo's View

PLANNING COMMITTEE REJECTS BULK IN BEACY

 

Bulk and height in a suburban environment created unhappy neighbours for a proposal in Beaconsfield at the Fremantle Planning Committee last evening.

The proponents want to build two storey grouped dwellings in Cadd Street, Beaconsfield with vehicle parking access through the Milky Way laneway, but neighbours and Councillors were not impressed.

It was suggested that the height could be reduced with deeper excavation of the soil as the block is on a significant slope.

One neighbour said since he has lived in the street the tree canopy had been reduced significantly because of clear felling required for the Mc Mansions built in the suburban street.

Councillor Dave Hume questioned if the building was too big for the block and said he would want the building height to be lowered to make it acceptable, and Councillor Jeff McDonald agreed and said although the height had been adjusted it was still too high.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said he was still struggling with the proposal as it was a very large-scale development, and Councillor Adin Lang said he was not satisfied with the height and impact on the neighbours. Councillor Ingrid Waltham said she could not support the application as there were a whole ranges of issues with which she was not satisfied.

The Planning Committee voted 5-2 against the proposal, which will have to go to Ordinary Council, but a motion was then put after the vote to recommend the proponents make changes, especially to the height, of the building, so that they might have a better chance of getting it approved.

Roel Loopers

 

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DRAFT VISION FOR EAST FREMANTLE OVAL PROJECT

 

The Town of East Fremantle has published a draft vision report for the East Fremantle Oval Precinct Revitalisation Project.

See it all here: https://www.eastfremantle.wa.gov.au/Profiles/eastfremantle/Assets/ClientData/Documents/Governance/PUBLIC_CONSULTATION__East_Freo_OvalPrecinct_VisionReportFeb2019_LR_.pdf

 

CONSENSUS STATEMENTS TO GUIDE REVITALISATION (PRINCIPLES)

The precinct should be revitalised

A community and sporting space that is open to all

An inter-generational, inter-connected open space

A sporting precinct – with or without WAFL games

Preference to retain the entire precinct as a Class A Reserve

Affordable and equitable revitalisation with multiple funding options

Improve physical and visual accessibility into the precinct

Create shared facilities that meet the needs of clubs and community

Preference to retain the social heritage of existing clubs

Maximise use of existing areas, and better utilise underused space

 

There are two vision concepts with Vision Concept 1 Opening The Park, which supports to retain the current functional arrangements on site with the least/minimal intervention and extensive landscaping.

Vision Concept 2 Community Hub, supports the oval as a community hub in the heart of the precinct, surrounded by parklands which maximise connectivity, and visual aesthetic to all boundaries.

East Fremantle Council has stated it prefers the East Fremantle Football Club to stay at the oval and not as was flagged move to  Fremantle Oval and share facilities and playing ground with the South Fremantle Football Club.

Roel Loopers

 

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BETTER URBAN INFILL VERY IMPORTANT

 

WA Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has released stage one of DESIGN WA, the guidelines to improve the quality of urban infill.

One of the most heard complaints in Fremantle and all over the suburbs is the mediocre design of most of the new residential apartment and other buildings in our character cities, but planning rules and even design advisory panels have had little impact on improving the architecture and streetscapes, this will hopefully now improve, depending on how strict and strong the new policy can be enforced by local councils, JDAP, SAT and the WAPC.

Rita Saffioti’s statements says:

Design WA includes clearly defined objectives about what future developments should consider, and includes it in the revised Residential Design Codes. Objectives include:

  • Appropriate scale to respect the local character and context;
  • Minimum apartment sizes based on floor space and number of rooms;
  • Safe, healthy environments with good natural light and ventilation;
  • Development that creates walkable neighbourhoods with high amenity;
  • Green space such as shady trees for outdoor spaces and mature tree retention; and
  • Development that enhances local neighbourhoods. 

The policy will come into affect soon, on May 24, 2019, so that is a good thing.

One thing I have been wondering about is why urban infill and medium/high density buildings are demanded in older suburbs by the State Government but not in brand-new suburbs which are developed near public transport corridors. That makes no sense to me.

Roel Loopers

IT HAS BEEN A VERY BIG YEAR FOR FREO’S FUTURE

 

I have been contemplating what the memorable moments in Fremantle were for me this year, so let’s make a start.

  • The Kings Square Redevelopment Project is no doubt the most significant one in decades for our city, so I walk by daily to have a look.
  • The Heart of Beacy project could positively change and modernise the suburb and provide much-needed urban infill.
  •  Andrew-Twiggy- Forrest showing faith in Freo’s future by investing in property here is significant.
  •  The Woolstores hotel development finally approved and two other hotels in Henderson Street as well.
  • If it is environmentally safe the South Fremantle solar farm will be a good development.
  • No more single-use plastic bags.
  • The tavern proposal by Sunset Events for J Shed was finally given the boot by the WAPC.
  • The removal of the stunning Felice Varini yellow art work is a major headache for the city and property owners in High Street.
  • Traffic calming in South Fremantle looks great and so does the Hilton Town centre.
  • Destination Marketing planning for Freo is under way, so let’s wait and see.
  • By-election for South Fremantle won by Andrew Sullivan-again.
  • The Long Table Dinner is huge, great and very Freo.
  •  Age Friendly City working group established.
  • Highrise proposal for Royal George Hotel in East Fremantle stopped.

It has been a big year for Fremantle and next year is going to be similar when many of the approved developments will start and the FOMO retail concept opens at Kings Square before Christmas 2019.

And at the risk of some people accusing me of sucking up, I want to express my thanks to Freo’s very diligent councillors. I do not always like their decisions, but they make them with care and after long deliberations, as I witnessed myself by going to about 80 per cent of council and council committee meetings this year, to see first hand how our grassroots democracy works.

 

Roel Loopers

 

 

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BUILD US HERITAGE OF THE FUTURE!

 

An opinion piece in the West Australian by Suzanne Hunt, the WA president of the Architects Institute of Australia, caught my eye because the headline claims that ‘Architects make great cities’ I don’t believe the architectural reality in Perth can sustain that claim.

Ms Hunt wants architects appointed to the Metronet Reference Group and Infrastructure WA, because in her words It would ensure that local planning incorporates the very best examples of good design. Really?!

Suzanne Hunt also writes that Architects advocate for small policy decisions, which create happier, healthier and more connected suburbs, but that is unfortunately not what most of her colleagues are doing.

Drive and walk through the Perth metro area and you’ll see mostly boring, mediocre and visually unattractive multi-storey buildings, which have little regard for the streetscape and public amenity and which do very little to add new public open spaces with trees.

What we have been getting instead are bland concrete boxes which are often too high and bulky. The ‘creativity’ of the architects is putting cladding or screening on facades to hide the boredom of the actual building. That is make-up only that is trying to hide the flaws.

I get it that architects need to make a living and that the developers they design projects for are mostly interested in getting as much profit-making floor space as possible, and that beauty, aesthetics and great design are not  priorities for them, hence many architects compromise and design average buildings, instead of enhancing our suburbs with creative and inspiring new buildings.

That is the reason why so many of us are against suburban infill, not necessarily because of the proposed hight and bulk, but because we want to retain the unique character of older places like Fremantle, and that means we want heritage of the future in outstanding and beautiful buildings, not mediocrity.

Roel Loopers

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

 

URBAN INFILL DEMANDS NOISE PROTECTION MEASURES

 

One of only two agenda items for the Strategic Planning and Transport Committee on Wednesday will be the community consultation paper put out by the WA Planning Commission-WAPC about noise in entertainment areas such as Northbridge, and the question if Fremantle Council should consider asking the WAPC to include the Fremantle CBD in the trial.

Medium and high density urban infill has seen a rise in complaints in recent years from residents who are not happy with the noise from entertainment venues and transport, but the entertainment industry believes it is not fair that the onus should only be on them and that it should be shared with developers of new residential buildings, which should be required to put better noise insulation measures, such as double glazing and thicker glass in their developments.

I remember many years ago that when the new apartments opposite Clancy’s were built that it only took one week before the first complaint was made about live music there, although the tavern had been having regular live concerts for many many years.

In Fremantle where we are going to see a glut of new residential apartments and hotel rooms, combined with new taverns and bars, it is essential to also protect the livelihood of the hospitality industry and demand new buildings that have better noise protection for their users.

Roel Loopers

WA PLANNING GREEN PAPER BUT NO ARCHITECTS

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, development, Uncategorized by freoview on July 6, 2018

 

The WA state government has released a green paper of changes to the planning process. It is 81 pages long, so too long to blog it all, but below the most important aspects of it.

Fremantle architect Tobias Bush already remarked on social media that the word architect has not once been used on all the 81 pages, and that is a rather remarkable oversight, and a slap in the face of those professionals who create the future of our cities.

 

  • Local governments to have up-to-date local planning strategies, including one for housing, through which the community has a say in how their neighbourhood will be developed.
  • Make strategic planning for sustainable development the purpose of planning in Western Australia.

Make the planning system easy to access and understand

  • A single concise State Planning Policy framework with common elements for State, regional and local plans and policies.
  • A comprehensive local planning scheme will be available online for each local government including a local planning strategy, the statutory scheme and local planning policies.
  • Reduce red tape by standardising commonly used zones.

Open up the planning system and increase community engagement in planning

  • A Community Engagement Charter with a focus on up-front community involvement in strategic planning.
  • Re-balance Development Assessment Panel processes including recording meetings, providing reasons for decisions, and undertaking more comprehensive investigation and consideration of complex proposals.
  • Local governments to report annually on their planning responsibilities.

Make the planning system well-organised and more efficient

Refocus the planning system to deliver quality urban infill

  • Revise the WA Planning Commission (WAPC) to include 5-7 specialist members and increase their focus on strategic planning and policy development.
  • WAPC to delegate more statutory matters to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and accredited local governments.
  • Rethink administrative processes that add unnecessary time and cost to approvals processes.
  • The State Government, WAPC and local government to collaborate on the planning and delivery of key centres and infill locations and forward planning of infrastructure.
  • Develop a state planning policy focused on delivering consolidated and connected smart growth.
  • Provide for coordinated land use and transport planning of key urban corridors.

 

Roel Loopers

FREO THINKS BIG ABOUT SMALL HOUSING

Posted in city of fremantle, housing, lifestyle, living, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on March 29, 2018

 

I am a bit lazy because of the flu and fever I have, so just some points I copied from this media release  by the City, as I could not attend last evening’s committee meeting:

The City of Fremantle has given its final approval to a ground-breaking new approach to infill housing in suburban areas, called the ‘Freo Alternative – Big Thinking about Small Housing’.

Council last night voted to change the City’s Local Planning Scheme and adopt a new planning policy to stimulate development of a wider choice of housing in Fremantle’s suburban areas while still maintaining what people value about their neighbourhoods.

State government has set density targets across the metropolitan area to cater for population growth and limit urban sprawl, but poorly planned or inappropriate infill developments are often met with a backlash from local residents, and don’t always match housing needs.

The proposed planning scheme amendment and policy will now be sent to the Minister for Planning for final determination.

The Freo Alternative is the result of more than three years of research and community engagement. Because of the widespread concern about the impact of infill development in our suburbs, Fremantle wanted to create a shared community vision of the future of housing in the city

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said “We needed to come up with a way of delivering more diverse and affordable housing while retaining the established form and feel of the streestcapes and neighbourhoods that people love about where they live.”

The Freo Alternative project began in 2014 when the Australian Urban Design Research Centre and local architects were engaged to model different small housing types and test if they could work in a Fremantle environment.

That was followed in 2016 with a widespread community engagement campaign to establish what attributes the community most valued about their suburb and the benefits and challenges of small housing types.

The key themes to emerge from the consultation included having a range of housing choices, good access to transport, retention of open spaces and trees, good quality design, sustainability, affordability and encouraging community interaction.

The proposed amendment to Fremantle’s Local Planning Scheme establishes seven special control areas throughout the suburbs with special provisions for small infill development, as an alternative to traditional single lot subdivision.

Key provisions include:

Only applies to lots larger than 600 square metres
Dwellings to have a maximum floor area of 120 square metres
Maximum of three dwellings on lots of 750 square metres or less
Minimum of 30 square metres of outdoor living area per dwelling
Developments to have higher than standard energy efficiency ratings, and include solar panels, rainwater tanks, grey water systems or meet best practice accessibility standards
A minimum of 70 per cent of the entire development to be open space
At least one large tree to be retained or planted for each dwelling
A maximum of one parking bay per dwelling
Developments to be referred to the City’s Design Advisory Committee to consider design quality.

Freo Alternative will initially be applied to specific locations within the City of Fremantle, in sections of White Gum Valley, Samson, Hilton, O’Connor, Beaconsfield and Fremantle that meet certain criteria regarding proximity to public transport, existing lot size and housing stock, and heritage streetscapes.

To be reviewed in four years, Freo Alternative may then be rolled out across further locations.

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QUALITY AND DIVERSITY GOOD CITY PLANNING

 

According to WA Transport, Planning, Lands Minister Rita Saffioti the revised Perth and Peel@3.5 planning concept will focus on good design and amenity while pushing to develop half of the 800,000 needed dwellings in existing suburbs through urban infill and higher density.

But as we are experiencing in Fremantle we do get urban infill and higher density but not quality architectural design and new innovative public amenity, with the Kings Square public realm as the exception.

Wood Bagor principal Leslie Ashor, who is visiting Perth from San Francisco, says we need to build up a different demographic and embrace not only new residents but also universities and schools and encourage incubators and co-working spaces for new technology because they would create potential for new micro businesses.

Roel Loopers

 

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