Royal George Hotel Decision - a Clayton's Victory?
Many people are celebrating Planning Minister Saffioti's decision to allow 7 storeys on the Royal George Hotel site instead of the 21 that Saracen Properties asked for.
But, have they fallen for the developer's clever ambit claim trick - scaring the community so much with a 21 storey 'elegant' tower designed by a 'well known architect', that anything like 7 storeys seems a huge victory. It is not.
The image above, borrowed from Mal Christison's site, shows what may be designed for the site - something as big as the detested Richmond Quarter on Canning Highway. Something only two storeys less than the monster block of flats at the other end of George Street on the corner of East Street.
Imagine that 7 storey block being repeated down George Street, as developers argue that they have bought a heritage property on George Street and cannot afford to restore it unless they get a huge planning bonus behind.
Some in the community feel they have waited so long for a solution, that a compromise like the block shown should be accepted. But, the compromise was selling the property, worth millions, to Saracen for just $570,000 plus GST.
Some in the community do not want to be seen as negative by holding out for a better outcome.
But, years ago council should have initiated a scheme amendment to list that area of George Street as a heritage precinct. THAT is positive planning and a recognition of the obvious, that that part of George Street is special enough to warrant a special listing.
Council should urgently get on and do that heritage area listing, and take their community along for the ride. The Fremantle Society will help.