The West: Fremantle to test demand for smaller homes

By Kate Emery in The West Australian Monday, 2 April 2018.

https://thewest.com.au/news/fremantle/fremantle-to-test-demand-for-smaller-homes-ng-b88788680z

Leanne McKenzie is an advocate for smaller living.
Leanne McKenzie is an advocate for smaller living.Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian.

WA’s port city is rolling out a new breed of infill that will cap house size at 120sqm, encourage smaller homes of less than half that size and mandate green space to stop the loss of trees to infill.

At 120sqm the maximum house size will be less than half the size of the average home being built in WA.

The plan is initially earmarked for pockets in Fremantle, White Gum Valley, Hilton, O’Connor, Samson and Beaconsfield. However, if successful it could be rolled out more widely.

City of Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said it would be “radically different” from conventional infill.

“It’s very smart planning and at the heart of it is trying to match what is Fremantle’s existing demographics with what we’re building,” Dr Pettitt said. “Your average house size is 2.2 people but you’re building on average a house that is four or five bedrooms. We’re keen to get young couples and young families into the area.

“Your average standard house in Fremantle is $800,000-plus, that’s pretty hard on an average income. But also we’re really keen on ageing in place. We’d love this to expand beyond Freo and for it to become the norm across the metropolitan area.”

The maximum size of any dwelling would be capped at 120sqm but Dr Pettitt said they would also encourage homes of 50sqm. No more than three homes would be allowed on lots of 750sqm or less.

For lots over 750sqm an extra dwelling could be approved for every additional 150sqm.

Car bays would be capped at one for every new house and two for existing houses.

To counter the loss of green space and tree canopy that can accompany traditional infill, a minimum of 70 per cent open space would be required and 25 per cent of the site must be earmarked as a “deep planting zone”, which would require at least one tree.

Fremantle council endorsed the plan this week, but it still needs approval from planning authorities.

Fremantle resident and urban developer Leanne McKenzie said she supported what Fremantle was trying to do.

Ms McKenzie, who is working on a prototype for compact, affordable and moveable housing, said different solutions were needed to address Perth’s urban sprawl.

“The consumption of land here in Perth is far greater than anywhere in the world,” she said. “I take my hat off to Fremantle: they’re doing something and it’s new and it’s different.”

Pimping Up Our Suburbs with the Freo Alternative

The Freo Alternative is about providing more diverse housing forms for Freo’s suburban areas. It  is coming to Council this month

The Freo Alternative – aka big thinking about small housing  – aims to increase housing choice for smaller households in Fremantle’s suburban areas while maintaining what people value about their neighbourhoods. The approach focuses on the scale of housing, rather than the traditional metric of number of dwellings per land area.

The proposed amendment and policy follow on from background research and community engagement undertaken on the Freo alternative in late 2016 (stage one of the Freo Alternative).

The purpose of stage one was to generate a shared community vision on the future of housing in Fremantle. The major themes that emerged from these discussions with the community were: location, housing choice, built form, sustainability, open space, trees and landscaping, community, and car movement and parking.

You might remember from this the community engagement the fun Pimp my Suburb is a series of playful and educational interactive scaled physical models for investigating and breaking through urban planning and design challenges.

https://www.pimpmysuburb.com

The second stage of the Freo Alternative underwent community engagement from October 2017  to February 2018. During this time, the City received 82 submissions – 60 in support, 14 objecting and 8 neutral with comment.

The Freo Alternative will be considered at the Strategic Planning & Transport Committee this Wednesday 21 March 2018 at the North Fremantle Community Hall, 2 Thompson Road, North Fremantle, starting at 6.00pm if you are interested.

 

Hilton town centre set for facelift

The Hilton town centre is set for a facelift after the Fremantle Council approved the plan for an upgrade.

The plan aims to make the section of South Street which runs through the Hilton shopping area feel more like a traditional town centre by slowing traffic and creating a safe and welcoming environment.

It also addresses a serious safety issue by preventing cars from turning right out of Paget Street and Victor Street onto South Street.

That stretch of South Street is very dangerous and the local community has been calling for something to be done to improve safety for a long time. In the past five years there have been 20 crashes involving cars turning right into South Street and a lot of near misses for people using the pedestrian crossing.

These improvements will make the area a lot safer, while also creating a much nicer community space.

The improvements will also include enhanced signage and lighting to make drivers more aware of the pedestrian crossing on South Street, new ramps at Paget Street and Victor Street to make it easier for people with prams and wheelchairs, a different colour asphalt roadway to delineate Hilton town centre and new landscaping and street furniture.

The project is being funded through $250,000 from the state government’s Local Projects, Local Jobs program and $50,000 from the City of Fremantle.

Thanks to the Ward Councillors (Jeff McDonald, Dave Hume, Hannah Fitzhardinge and Sam Wainwright) and Fremantle member Simone McGurk for making this happen

Work is expected to start in April next year and be completed by the end of July. Here are some before and afters:

 

Biophilic Perth invites you to an evening of Conversation and Inspiration

6pm Monday November 20th

Peter Newman, Brad Pettitt and Jana Söderlund discuss biophilic urbanism and the biophilic city vision.

Inspired by visits to our neighbour Singapore, Peter and Jana will showcase highlights and how Singapore’s vision could be adapted to Perth. Part of this is linking with the global Biophilic City network. Mayor Pettitt will provide an update on Fremantle’s initiatives towards becoming a member.

This will be followed by an opportunity to discuss, ask questions and network.

Join us in The Local Hotel, Monday 20th, 6pm – 8pm.

282 South Terrace, South Fremantle

Doors open 5.30pm

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/a-biophilic-conversation-tickets-39506192084

 

 

A Challenge for Fremantle – Building Apartments for Families

When Council made the decision to encourage higher density residential development in central Freo we were careful to make sure that a good proportion of this new apartment housing was affordable and diverse. At the time we were concerned that  without specific controls we would only get larger luxury apartments that would not be affordable to people on average incomes.

As a result we mandated in Scheme Amendments 38 and 49 diverse apartments sizes and a minimum percentage a small apartments of 60m2 or less so that there would be lots of affordable options. This has been successful in generating smaller, more affordable apartments in Freo.

But where we have not been successful is in creating affordable apartments for families. Freo is not alone in this challenge as the article Developers Failing to Build Apartments for Australian Families outlines. This is a good challenge to set ourselves and I hope Freo can demonstrate how this is done – as we have for housing for artists and GenY.

Here is the article that is worth a read:

https://www.domain.com.au/news/developers-failing-to-build-apartments-for-australian-families-leading-architect-claims-20171107-gzfkfi/

Families and children are being excluded from apartment-living, or are having to suffer in grossly unsuitable units, because developers have failed to take notice of their needs, a leading international architect has claimed.

Across the world, developers continue to design, and build, apartments with Millennials, singles, childless couples, or empty-nesters in mind, completely ignoring a huge swathe of the population.

“There’s a whole market out there, keen to move into areas of greater density to take advantage of all the opportunities they offer,” David Pontarini, principal of Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini Architects, told the annual international Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) being held in Australia.

“Developers are ignoring families with kids as they somehow feel they should be planning for other demographics instead. But just as low-rise housing has been masterplanned with kids in mind, to include schools, community centres, child care facilities and parks, we now need to make sure we’re also building family and child-friendly vertical villages.”

In Canada and the US, the property industry is now starting to take notice of the particular needs of kids in high rises. Having found that many families were resorting to storing their strollers in the bath or outside their unit’s front door as they didn’t have space inside, they’re now creating family-friendly apartments.

These are often much larger two and three-bedroom units with lots of storage as well as common areas specifically for strollers, children’s bikes, roller skates and wheeled toys. One popular New York block is now offering a service that’s proved a huge hit with parents: valet-parking for strollers.

Pontarini has designed a multitude of award-winning mixed-use and urban high rise projects before working on the ground-breaking report for the City of Toronto, Growing Up: Planning for Children in New Vertical Communities, providing, and promoting, guidelines for the industry on how to create child-friendly density.

Kitchen and dining areas, for instance, should be large enough for families to comfortably cook, eat and socialise together.

Realising The Freo Alternative Vision

The first stage of The Freo Alternative was about generating a shared community vision on the future of housing in Fremantle. Through this process we heard that eight themes are important to you: housing choice, trees and landscaping, open space, sustainability, community, built form, car movement and location. Read more about these themes and the proposed scheme amendment and planning policy on My Say Freo.

Stage two is about realising this vision through planning policy. We want to identify how the City can change our planning rules to allow for smaller homes in suburban locations while protecting the things we love about our Fremantle neighbourhoods.

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the proposed planning rules.

We’re popping up in the suburbs to answer your questions and hear your thoughts. Feel free to come along to any of these events:

White Gum Valley | 15 November 2017  4.30 – 6.30pm at Sullivan Hall –  2 Nannine Ave, White Gum Valley.

Fremantle | 16 November 2017  4 – 6pm at Holland Park – Holland Street, Fremantle.

Beaconsfield | 19 November 2017 & 26 November 2017 8am – 12 noon at Growers Green Market – front lawn of South Fremantle Senior High School, Lefroy Road, Beaconsfield.

Hilton | 22 November 2017  4 – 6pm near the entrance to Gilbert’s Fresh – 308 South Street, Hilton.

Samson | 23 November 2017 4.30 – 6.30pm at Samson Recreational Centre – 44 McCombe Ave, Samson.

 

We encourage you to read the proposed planning changes in more detail online and complete the survey by 5.00 pm 2 February 2018.

If you have any questions just let us know by emailing planning@fremantle.wa.gov.au or phone us on 9432 9999

Productive and Native. Highlights of the Community Verge Walk

Today’s community walk to look at verge gardens was really inspiring. Not only was the walk well attended by many impressive people willing to share their ideas and experiences, but we got to see some really great resident-initiated verges as we wondered along Holland, Montreal and Forrest Streets in Fremantle. Thanks to everyone for sharing ideas and knowledge. I leant lots.

Pleasingly the consensus was that the new City of Fremantle verge policy was definitely heading in the right direction as it encouraged more people to plants native plants or even vegetables in their front verges. The policy not only helps people make verge gardens but it also cuts red tape and lets people do creative things – many of which are already happening if Fremantle. Please check out link to policy on previous post.

What became apparent too is that native and productive verges are not only good for environmental reasons such as reducing water use and increasing biodiversity but they are also important socially, as residents use, enjoy and come together (and even share excess produce) as a result of more attractive verge gardens.

Here are some photos: