Membership fees are still low. But your renewal is crucial in keeping us active.
We are paying for expert reports to back our submissions up. We are spending many hours working with Society members, architects, property owners, councillors, staff and others to get the best possible commentary on important local issues. Some of the reports the Fremantle Society has done recently have taken dozens and dozens of hours to formulate. That costs you nothing, but when we need to get experts to add to our expertise, we are paying modest fees for that help. Your membership fees are due and we ask that you pay today if you have not done so already.
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or, cheque please to PO Box 828 Fremantle WA 6160
Our vision for 2018 is to enable the community and council to achieve the best possible results through informed commentary.
Following our Letter to the Editor this week to the Herald about the Manning Building development, we contacted the two Fremantle Council members of JDAP who decided on the issue yesterday. This is what the president wrote:
Hi Rachel and Jon,
I understand you both will be on JDAP next Tuesday.
I cannot attend JDAP as I will be overseas on a lecture tour promoting Fremantle.
You have a copy already of the attached report done by the Fremantle Society. We have also printed colour copies and posted them to JDAP.
The report took a great deal of time and involved meetings with architects, tenants, councillors, and considerable research.
The more we look into the plans the more issues we find. We ask that you seek to have this deferred until there has been a site visit including all members of JDAP. JDAP should not be making decisions on complex and important heritage sites without a site visit.
I realise you may not agree with our concerns, but there if the major issues such as reinstatement of original verandahs and original shopfronts are not going to be nailed down clearly, there are a few additional minor things we ask that you consider getting amendments for:
a) Archaeology: it is extraordinary that there is no requirement for an archaeological study for the demolition sites. There needs to be one.
b) Visibility of plant on the roof: Normal condition says ‘cannot be visible’ but the condition in this report said ‘cannot be highly visible’. The ‘highly’ should be removed.
c) the condition for documentation of demolition says ‘digital photographs‘ when in fact it should read ‘professional photographs’.
d) Social heritage of Shepherds and Norm Wrightsons: It doesn’t appear that the social heritage of Norm Wrightsons – in that location since 1933, or Shephers Newsagency – in that building for over 100 years – is appreciated or protected. No council officer visited either tenancy.
e) the tuck painting should be ‘tuck pointing’ as we point out in our report. In fact we received this this morning from a heritage construction company (who worked for example on the Commissariat and Elder Building):
(Re: Manning Buildings)
I have read over this report and you are bang on with respect to the Tuck pointing,
Tuck Painting should only be done when there is an interpretation of what has been lost forever,
ie, new wall that was damaged but reinstated, tuck painted to look original as much as practical…
Or an extension to a Heritage building, the extension should be tuck painted to “blend” however still show a point of difference with interpretation.
I am also upset at of the painting at the rear of of 7-9 William st
Especially if there were previous paintings or indicators of previous signage for the area
Sometimes the old signage itself can be the most significant part of the building.
While I support the art and décor of what some of the councils do, it is upsetting to assume that the paint that has been used is likely to be detrimental to the building fabric and cause an expedited breakdown of the wall fabric if the paint seals over Lime mortar
Old walls are lime based and need to breath or they decay rapidly
Perhaps it is as the tenants suggest, to hide/destroy the significance of the heritage
I like the art, Just not there…
especially if there were indicators or historical advertising that should have been restored not painted over
I also question if the Heritage council were aware of the walls being painted?
I know the local council are intrusted to look after some of these buildings, however if the persons in charge are not aware of what is needed to work on these buildings or the parameters they should be working too, then it is likely they will have someone who is the cheapest quote using the wrong materials in the name of saving a dollar for the council to make them look good.
(JDAP passed the plans with minor amendments, including requiring an archaeological study)
Brackson Construction Pty Ltd
It was Brackson Construction who provided the above comments. They are new members of the Fremantle Society, with a great deal of valuable experience in important heritage projects around Fremantle such as the Commissariat, Elder Building, and the Town Hall, to name just a few.
The Fremantle Society is keen to see good quality maintenance and restoration to heritage buildings and suggests contacting Bracksons for any queries:
Primary phone number 0484 763 077
Secondary phone number 0423 102 900
The Precinct system is up for review over the next few weeks. Given that it was the Fremantle Society who introduced the idea of a precinct system to Fremantle by getting Ted Mack from North Sydney over here to explain it, it is galling to see the council deliberately leave the Fremantle Society (and FICRA) off the list of precincts. Most precincts have been moribund or operating often to support the incumbent councillors, while the Fremantle Society (and FICRA) have been very active in engaging widely in the community.
Please consider making a submission which keeps the Fremantle Society and FICRA as part of the precinct system.
Coles Woolstores – Your Comments Urgently Requested
The dismal and dominating 38.9 metre high plans for the Coles Woolstores were put out for public comment at the end of last year and we sent you a copy of a report we commissioned from architect Ken Adam.
We urgently seek feedback (to firstname.lastname@example.org) from members about Ken’s report or the one the Fremantle Society submitted as well because there will be a special planning meeting of council next Wednesday at 6pm (North Fremantle Community Centre) to discuss the design criteria (not to assess the actual plans).
Communist East Berlin Apartment Block Arrives
The raft of damaging oversized buildings is underway in Fremantle with the arrival of the East Berlin Communist inspired “Liv” apartment block in Queen Victoria Street opposite the “Giant of Fremantle”, the former Fort Knox wool store (on the right of the picture), the largest wool store left in Fremantle.
To allow the “Giant of Fremantle” to be overshadowed by an apartment block next to it is appalling planning and decision making, a failure of councillors to grasp very basic fundamentals of urban planning.
The development suits the ideology of Fremantle Council, because the extensive number of low cost dwellers will largely be Labor voters.
Plans for the 26 shops of Manning Estate (High Street Mall and Market Street) go to council’s planning committee next Wednesday. The Fremantle Society submitted an extensive report to council and to you the members. Remember that meetings for the next few years will be held in the North Fremantle Town Hall.
The plans for the Mannings Buildings – to separate the top floor from the bottom floor, get rid of Norm Wrightson’s hairdressing shop for a brewery, NOT reinstate verandahs as proposed by council years ago, and destroy the backs of the buildings – are proposed by the same man who inflicted the awful Atwell Arcade development into the gold rush streetscapes and roofscapes of the city centre adjacent.
Note that no effort is being made to restore the former Majestic Theatre on this site.
Vale David Hutchison
Today at 10am the funeral for renowned Fremantle historian David Hutchison will be held. He died at the end of 2017, a terrible year for heritage in Fremantle, with the only bright spot being the restoration of the Town Hall eight years later than budgeted for. David wrote a book about the Town Hall, along with one on New Norcia, and Fremantle Walks, a comprehensive guide to the heritage of Fremantle. In Fremantle Walks he detailed the achievements of one City ward councillor Richard Rennie, who was a councillor from 1925 to 1936. While it seems some councillors do a lot of damage to heritage with their voting, Richard Rennie got out early in his career as a builder and was responsible for some of the finest buildings surviving today. David Hutchison detailed some of them – they include the former Tramways Building at 1 High Street, Owston’s Buildings, 9-19 High Street, the National Hotel, five of the goods sheds on Victoria Quay, Mannings Chambers, High Street Mall shops, including the Majestic Theatre, the former National Bank in High Street, and the Fremantle War Memorial.
David set up the Fremantle History Museum, which has now disappeared.
He taught this writer physics at Christ Church Grammar School, deflating the writer’s sole achievement after 8 years at the school – being holder of the record for the mile running race – by saying in class that Dowson had started at point A and traversed 440 yards of grass in a circular fashion four times, only to arrive back at the spot he had started from – thus achieving nothing.
Money please to :
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PO Box 828 Fremantle
The Fremantle Society
(the photo at the top is from the Warders Cottages development proposal which goes to JDAP this Friday at 9.30am in the Fremantle Council Chamber – see below)
Fremantle Council issued a press release today headlined “Last Hurrah for Council Chambers.”
The mayor noted that in its 50 years the chamber had seen “memorable moments” like the huge crowd when the Esplanade Skate Park Plaza was voted through, the Kings Square plans and Amendment 49 (to allow developers to have high rise in Fremantle).
Ironically, these examples selected by the mayor were three highly controversial decisions of council – the skate park was contrary to council’s own Masterplan for Esplanade Park, upset locals, and should have been built in the car park and not on the green space of the park. The Kings Square Business Plan, like the controversial Markets Lease the mayor supported when he was a councillor, did not go out for public tender, and there has never been a demand from the community for a new administration building. And, the MAJORITY of the community did NOT support the heights proposed in amendment 49.
The twin towers of good governance – transparency and accountability – have gone down, like the admin building, with the actions of Fremantle Council.
They will not rise again unless the community asks more questions and seeks better quality outcomes.
(Councillors meet ahead of their planning meetings and seem to formulate a ‘team’ view then of what outcomes should be for important planning agenda items. They seem to ignore the Fremantle Society view, as being one that is a ‘nuisance’ or ‘irritant’ to them, as though the Fremantle Society view is simply a narrow viewpoint. In formulating views and submissions on this isssue the Fremantle Society has consulted widely and has informed members of key aspects, as it has worked through the issues. We have consulted three staff at the National Trust, several staff at the Heritage Council, a conservation architect, the neighbors to the proposal, a former mayor, a senior retired architect, TV and print journalists, the former Premier of WA, and the Heritage Minister. The community is given very little time to respond to major issues, and to ensure transparency council should give much more notice of key developments).
The Warders Cottages issue is another example of a lack of transparency and accountability. The cottages, of national importance, have been poorly handled from day one, when council voted to support strata titling and privatisation of the cottages, contrary to expert advice and obvious best outcome being ownership remaining with the prison or another body like the National Trust.
At last week’s planning meeting, despite the officers admitting they had never seen the key guiding document for all the cottages – the 2016 Conservation Management Plan, the meeting proceeded, and not one councillor took any notice of the submission of the Fremantle Society. Councillors had no interest in discussing heritage, just how many patrons could fit into the beer garden.
The mayor states in today’s West Australian that tourists will flock to the cottages when the rear gardens have been totally eradicated and the rear aspect of the cottages ruined and obscured by second storey walkways.
It doesnt help that the Heritage Council, the ‘owners’ of the site and the decision makers about it, put a bulldozer through the rear gardens, aware that a proposal was before them for a beer garden.
For over 150 years these inner city cottages had their own inner city sanctum – a private garden, making them rare and highly important. But not one councillor stood up for the gardens. They should be reinstated.
The cottages are magical and have survived in good shape after 167 years. Any development of the site should be highly sensitive in order to keep the authenticity of the cottages and their gardens. THEN tourists will have something to salivate over.
The Fremantle Society and affected neighbours will make submissions on Friday to JDAP. There are six key issues with the current proposal:
a) Failure to address November 2016 Conservation Management Plan: The conservation plan has around 180 clear policies and the properties are sold subject to a Heritage Agreement which binds purchasers to follow the Conservation Plan. Policy 171 for example clearly states that only essential one storey structures can be erected in the historically important rear gardens, but two storeys are proposed.
b) Damage to nationally significant British military colonial warders usage and garden significance: Based on previous work by the same applicant (Hougoumont Hotel), not enough sensitivity to the enormous heritage of the site will be shown in the works intended. The essence of the Heritage Act, in particular 11(3) states that “A decision making authority shall not take any action that might (whether or not adversely) affect to a significant extent a registered place or a place which is the subject of a Heritage Agreement”, but considerable changes are being sought.
c) Misjudgement of Heritage Council in stating that proposed works are ‘reversible’. The works are clearly designed to be for long term use and are not temporary.
d) Lack of car parking provided: Given that council is rapidly selling off its own car parks there is a need for cash in lieu to be paid if car parking is not to be provided.
e) Failure of Fremantle Council to properly assess proposal: Council’s Design Advisory Committee, which gives adivce on major developments, did not give comment on this proposal. Council’s own staff admitted at the planning meeting they did not know of the existence of a key document: the November 2016 Conservation Management Plan. Councillors did not discuss the heritage of the buildings and the site, but focussed on the size of the beer garden.
f) Adverse effects on residential neighbours of a 475 person capacity beer garden.
The Fremantle Society will request that the application be refused or modified to protect the heritage values of the cottages and their individual gardens.
The Fremantle Society
Legend Vyonne Geneve, founder of the WA Art Deco Society, gave Fremantle Society members a real treat last Thursday night at the AGM with a talk focussing on the inter war history of Fremantle and its various art deco buildings.
A couple of copies of her wonderful book are still available ($60, which includes a free $35 copy of Fighting for Fremantle). Call John Dowson 9335 2113
The AGM showed that the Society is still in a strong financial position, with hundreds of members. President John Dowson outlined some of the many projects undertaken during the year and the many submissions made.
For 2018 John Dowson will continue as President, with Jack Turnbull as acting honorary treasurer, and a committee including Mike Finn, Agnieshka Kiera, Adele Gaskin, Robert Bodkin, and Ian Molyneux.
Submissions Due today on Police Complex
Yes, you have Christmas shopping to do, but you may want to make a submission today (or tomorrow should still be acceptable to email@example.com) on the 31-41 Henderson Street former courthouse and police courthouse and warders cottages complex.
Gerard O’Brien bought the large site of around 8000 sqm. He has rushed plans into council to get ahead of Sirona, who are apparently still running around trying to get their money together. Gerard O’Brien of Silverleaf, with major plans for Coles Woolstore site, Mannings Buildings and the police complex, will be keen to get tenants ahead of his rival developers Sirona and the City of Fremantle.
The police complex proposal is for a 6 storey hotel and bars.
To help you, the following comments may be of use:
a) The 6 storey hotel proposal is too high for this heritage area and should be limited to 4 storeys. The developer references the Myer building, but that is too far away and is not a good precedent. Even the Queensgate car park opposite should not be used as a precedent, as it is a damaging anomoly in a heritage precinct.
b) The heritage impact statement prepared for the developer is deficient given this site lies in the buffer zone of the world heritage listed prison. It states that this proposal has POSITIVE benefits for the Fremantle Prison and approach but provides little supporting detail.
c) Effect on adjacent Artillery Hall: No mention is made in the heritage impact statement on the effect on the Artillery Drill Hall two metres from this site, where Sunset Events have a tavern licence for 900 people.
d) Parking: The number of car bays required under the town planning scheme are not being provided and nor is cash in lieu being asked for. Given that council is busy selling off its car parks and that most of them are being built on, the situation for essential parking is unsustainable. Existing businesses are being penalised by having newcomers take their car bays without having to contribute.
Lack of Good Public Consultation
The community is not being given a heads up on major developments and has very little time to respond. Fremantle Ports for example, despite having little interest in new developments in town, were asked back in October what they thought of this proposal. Key relevant interested groups like the Fremantle Society and the National Trust should be given notice of what is in the pipeline months ahead.
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Compliments of the Christmas Season
The Fremantle Society