Debate over heights and models kicks off new year

The height debate is set to once again be front and centre of public debate in Fremantle over coming months with Council’s Scheme Amendment 49 which will increase heights in the run down east end of the CBD on sites like Myer, Coles Woolstores, Westgate Mall and Point Street.

The Fremantle Society and the Fremantle Herald have teamed up to put together a model of the proposed changes. Unfortunately the model will probably do more to scare people than inform them as it does NOT represent Council’s intent or what could be built.

In reality the strict requirements of the scheme would make this bulk impossible.

An additional two storeys may be permitted on selected sites only if the Council considered that the proposed development satisfied ALL of the following performance criteria;

• was of exceptional design

• incorporated best practice in environmentally sustainable design

• ensured no adverse impact on the amenity of adjacent public spaces

• provided improved pedestrian spaces and pathways across street blocks

• provided 10% of residential floor area as ‘affordable housing for people on low incomes’.

..and others

I believe the debate needs to move on from whether we are for or against the height and other changes in Amendment 49 to what modifications and changes should be made to specific aspects of Amendment 49 to get the right balance between having more people living and working in Fremantle on one hand and protecting the aspects we love most about Fremantle including built heritage on the other.

I’d love to hear what changes you would make so please send me your thoughts and recommendations.

Also check out the rest of the community feedback we got at:

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

8 Responses to Debate over heights and models kicks off new year

  1. Warren Iannello says:

    I think the debate has to be taken to a whole new level and more sophisticated to give Fremantle residents and future residents businesses and developers/investors any understanding of the vision or potential that the cities development plans have.It is about design and architecture & many of the other considerations regarding sustainability…not power to control and narrow the vision of what could be…Is it not a conflict of interest in regards to impartiality to enlist the sole support of a newspaper…or am I just having an ethical dilemma….Ciao

  2. thanks Warren. I think you are right. Most people are more concerned about design, quality and the architecture than height alone. that is why design requirements are going to be have to be strong and get us beautiful new buildings – not an easy challenge! Brad

  3. freoview says:

    No one is suggesting the bulk the model shows would happen, Brad. In fact those who man the model have been briefed to make that very clear, i.e. I tell people for example at present eight over 30 metre high buildings could be built on that site.

    I believe PSA 49 has too many sites on a too small area, and council has not sufficiently considered the Knutsford Street huge development potential, that of the Lefroy St quarry, and what is already happening at South Beach, Coogee and Leighton.

    Roel Loopers

  4. Linda Blagg says:

    The model is there to cause uncertainty and confusion.

    • Warren Iannello says:

      Until we grasp the nettle so to speak in regards to design,sustainability and architecture as being extremely important aspects of a human scale development …development itself will continue to be unattractive,inefficient and unaffordable…that is apart from the impacts that bad short sighted design/architecture will have on what I would like to call property tourism now and in the inherited future.(Think Sydney Rocks,Darling harbour ,Melbournes Swanston st development of the old brewery site – )Lets have a more mature and integrated debate that challenges,builds,dialogues and educates and does not get tied up with narrow vision or political necessity…Fremantle should be ”the” showcase for such development….the balance can be struck…but only if we want to and get beyond our narrow perceptions of what Fremantle is and has been in the past…the grandeur of past heritage building encapsulates the grand & visionary views of development of the time…we can build on such a foundation and integrate such energy and architecture into the new…without being too sentimental .We need to be a bit more neo rennaisance for a new time and take strategic and calculated risks…that benefit all in the community in some way….Ciao

    • Warren Iannello says:

      Like the vid and the comments short and sharp …says it all really.Ciao

  5. Roel, Thanks for your comments, although I struggle to see how eight over 30m high buildings would meet Council’s strict criteria. Also, the disadvantage of the other sites you mention is that they are not well linked to Central Fremantle in terms of transit or with the benefits of more people living and working in our city center. cheers, Brad

  6. Freo rip says:

    A great dialogue above with thought-provoking debate. The issue that many, including Brad, understandably have with the 3D model is that it provides an extreme case scenario for heights only for ALL strategic sites. So it looks ghastly and it’s exacerbated by buildings represented by featureless blocks. Yes – a better, more detailed model would have been preferred, possibly highlighting current heights, maximum heights, setbacks and height allowances for exceptional design. Such a detailed model should have been produced by the City for the enlightenment of the Freo public. Unfortunately it was up to others to produce a more simplistic but accurate model from a limited budget.

    Heights to one side, Warren is on the money in saying “It is about design and architecture & many of the other considerations regarding sustainability” and that “a balance should be struck” between heritage and a vision for the future (I hope I’ve paraphrased him correctly). Warren’s comments lead us to entering an equally interesting aspect of this debate: design. We should look at contemporary design both locally and internationally and tap into the community’s sentiment on what styles they would like to see built in Freo. Whilst being sensitive to bulk and scale, I personally enjoy the stark contrast of modern against old, such as of Federation Square against St Paul’s cathedral in Melbourne. Conversely, there is nothing worse than mock heritage reproductions.

    My overriding concern is that when it comes to the crunch, what we may or may not want will not be considered by DAPs and other decision makers unless we have produced sufficiently rigorous guidelines.


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