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Who is Representing YOU?

Almost a year before the public get a chance to comment on plans for their own town, developers have been working behind the scenes to massage their project through the system.

In the past the Heritage Council and National Trust could be relied on to stand up for heritage values. No longer - they now stand up for developer values. Council's $1,000 an hour Design Advisory committee has failed also to give Fremantle good quality new buildings - just look around you.

This Wednesday Andrew Forrest's plans for the huge 6 storey hotel pictured will go through Council's planning committee at 6pm and off to JDAP (Joint Development Approval Process) around 25 September.

The Fremantle Society tried to represent YOU by spending weeks making submissions, getting information to you,  and having meetings to get a high quality outcome. But read the agenda for this week's meeting, and the detailed submissions made by the following experts are barely assessed by council staff- they were given to the developer to assess and the developer's opinions are so important, their responses to our submissions are printed TWICE (at page 166 and 204).

You do not have the advocates you need to ensure high quality outcomes in your town, except for the Fremantle Society and ? YOURSELVES! But, what are you doing?

The mayor has even absented herself from Wednesday's important meeting- she knows the result already.

Below is the brief executive summary from our second letter to Andrew Forrest:

Executive Summary

Jeremy Dawkins (former Chair of WAPC):  objects to the proposal as being over-scaled, that it will diminish the city rather than contribute to it or reinforce "the very qualities that people stay in Fremantle to enjoy." If built, the hotel as proposed will be added to the "negative catalogue" of "destructive developments" from the 60s and 70s. "The owner and architects don't seem to get it." "There is a great deal at stake here, involving principle, precedent and commitment."
Agnieshka Kiera (former Fremantle City Heritage Architect): strongly opposes the proposal because of its "irreversibly detrimental effect on the potential to consolidate  the Spicer site and Paddy Troy Mall in harmony with the historic core of Fremantle." The proposed building is "too bulky, too tall by at least two floors and too alienating aesthetically to fit in the small urban grain of the existing townscape." This proposal "can easily tip the already fragile balance between old and new to the point of no return."
Sasha Ivanovich (former DAC member): "The proposal diminishes the heritage value of the Warders' Cottages by its scale and character". "The heavy, stern, monotonous and gigantic structural elements, the heavy column and beam grid should be avoided." There needs to be a better response to context - "to preserve and protect the unique character of Fremantle and its priceless historical heritage."
Carl Payne (Fremantle architect): "Cities begin to lose their unified character when change is not generated by local preferences or understandings but by a perceived commercial advantage to the owners of the buildings or land's clear that the historic buildings which contribute mostly to the urban character of Fremantle, are two to three stories." The new building "takes its cues from recent high commercial approvals within Fremantle, as well as from the excessively high modern car park building across William Street... this is despite directly facing the old Warders' Cottages in Henderson Street, which are two storey and domestic in scale, form, and texture." "In the 1970s, Council decisions negatively changed the entire area. The Henderson Street terrace houses (on the western side) and associated buildings were demolished, as was the Spicer's building...we need to repair, not exacerbate previous poor decisions."
The Fremantle Society (founded 50 years ago): The Urbis report acknowledges the site as being in "the heart of the historical Fremantle City Centre" yet the proposed hotel references with its bulk and scale not the mainly two storey buildings that make up the historic heart, but the monstrous bulk and scale of the aberrations from the FOMO and car park developments next to King's Square. The Urbis report focusses on the 4 storey Spicer building which previously occupied just a 20 metre frontage of the site 50 years ago, while totally ignoring the two storey Brockhoff building that existed on the corner of Henderson and William Streets. If the proposed height and bulk is allowed to be built, it will lead by precedent to the destruction of the historic heart of Fremantle, a place of national and international significance.

John Dowson
The Fremantle Society
0409 223622

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