Monthly Archives: December 2011

JOB VACANCY UWA

SITUATION VACANT Research Assistant Professor (Project Manager), University of Western Australia

Research Assistant Professor (Project Manager) (Ref: 3817)DirectorateSchool of Social and Cultural StudiesThe Australian Historic Shipwrecks Protection Project

  • 3 year 0.6 appointment
  • Salary range: Level B $81,400 – $96,663 p.a. (full-time)
  • Plus 17% superannuation
  • Closing date: Friday 6 January 2012

An opportunity to manage an ARC linkage grant

Apply your project management experience to this exciting new role. You will provide effective coordination of the multiple groups involved, organise and facilitate fieldwork with researchers and heritage managers, and develop stand-alone and collaborative research outputs. Applicants must have an honours degree and/or equivalent qualifications in maritime archaeology or closely allied sub-discipline (e.g. conservation of maritime objects). Some relocation assistance (if applicable) may be negotiated.

For further information regarding the position please contact Professor Alistair Paterson on (08) 6488 2867 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (08) 6488 2867 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or email Alistair.

For further information, download the Research Assistant Professor (Project Manager) position description.

FREO NEEDS COMMON SENSE DEVELOPMENT

I find architect Linley Lutton‘s columns in the West Australian newspaper always thought provoking and his latest article again has relevance for Fremantle and the proposed Planning Scheme Amendment 49.

Lutton this time criticises the state government plans for Perth Riverside Drive and points out not only the the fact that the development faces in the wrong direction, but also that there is no need for all the office space proposed. He also mentions a desolate new area full of highrise in Singapore, while down the road a low rise development attracts thousands of people.

Fremantle hopes developers will build massive areas of office and residential space in the inner city, but Lutton points out all the development going on in the Perth CBD will mean an oversupply of office space with an estimated total of 795,000 square metres being added to existing office space there. With mining related business occupying 55% of Perth office space, Lutton asks who will need all that new commercial space.

Luttons concerns are very relevant to Fremantle. Who would occupy the proposed office space here when the Perth CBD is already oversupplied before we have even started, or would we end up with large empty buildings devote of occupancy and life? Lutton also believes that international economic uncertainty will see the financing of apartment buildings be difficult for a considerable time to come. Could this mean Fremantle creating a ghost town of office buildings without the desired influx of new residents?

In light of Linley Lutton’s article it is advisable the City of Fremantle treats new development plans very carefully and does not let wishful thinking take over from common sense.

Roel Loopers

FS SUBMISSION ON SCHEME AMENDMENT 49

This is the full text of the Fremantle Society’s submission on the City of Fremantle’s proposed Scheme Amendment 49.

The Fremantle Society was formed in 1972 to promote and protect heritage values in Fremantle. Since then it has an unbroken record of advocacy for the Fremantle community on issues of social, cultural and built heritage. As a result Fremantle has maintained, with few exceptions, a human scale in its built environment which, together with its location and diversity, has made it an enviable place in which to live.

It will therefore come as no surprise that the Society supports any attempt to render Fremantle a vital, economically sustainable and culturally diverse community. It agrees that to achieve these goals will require a more attractive retail presence, an enhanced inner city population, a greater supply of affordable housing and safe and accessible public spaces.

Where the Society disagrees, at least in part, with the proposals contained in the Planning Scheme Amendment 49 is the assumption that these desirable goals will only be achieved by increasing the heights, in some cases significantly, of a number of designated sites. Moreover, we believe it is misleading to construe support for the revitalization of Fremantle, which we agree is widespread, as reflecting support for the recommended “enhanced” heights of the designated sites. The existence of a survey commissioned by the Fremantle Council (Herald, Nov. 26 2011) which showed 58% of residents surveyed opposed developments in excess of three floors lends substance to this assertion.

Concerns about the Consultation process

Contrary to claims made in the City’s name, we believe the means deployed so far have failed to provide any response to the proposed new heights which can be considered representative of the community. Our position in this matter is predicated on the following considerations:-

  1. The two interactive consultations held under the City’s auspices were attended by approximately 73 people in total, a significant number of whom have a financial interest in the adoption of the Amendment.
  2. The survey conducted in the course of these two interactive consultations was orientated in such a way as favoured support for the Amendment.
  3. A number of questions asked in the survey could not be answered except in the hypothetical.
  4. Questions were framed in relation to the whole of the Amendment – i.e. in response to all 12 of the sites, making it impossible to express support for some of its proposals but not others.
  5. Very limited opportunity was provided in any of the forums organised by the City for questions from the floor to be asked, let alone answered.
  6. The site tours organised by the City were very poorly advertised and attended.
  7. The numbers attending the interactive and other presentations and their largely unknown demographic does not permit the claim to be made (Herald, 3rd Dec. 2011) that they represent the Fremantle community.

Concerns about Scheme Amendment 49

The Fremantle Society has calculated that two-thirds of the residential, office and retail objectives of this scheme amendment could be met by developing space available under LPS4 to its full potential. In addition, the large amount of vacant space on upper floors of CBD buildings could – given some incentives – also be used to fulfil growth targets.

The Society questions several claims made in the documentation supporting the Amendment, including:

  1. That development of the desired kind and mix will only occur if height restrictions are relaxed and bonuses offered.
  2. That the alleged decline in retail trade and outlets is peculiar to Fremantle and reflects its deteriorating status as a regional centre.
  3. That this decline will only be addressed by an increase in the inner city population and this increase can only be accommodated in new and “vertically enhanced” buildings rather than existing vacant property – e.g., the Fort Knox building and the remaining heritage-listed section of the Woolstores. No account appears to have been taken of the increased population represented by the South Beach, Leighton and Riverside developments, the retail and rate implications of which are very significant.
  4. That the City will be able to ensure “good design” in the case of those buildings accorded the bonus of extra height. This will be achieved by reference to a Design Advisory Committee whose advice must be attended to but not necessarily adhered to. Unless this Advisory Committee is assured of its continuance between Councils, it remains an initiative of this Council, with no guarantee of its permanence. Even if its permanence is assured, its advice, even if adopted by the relevant Council, need not prevail if appealed against to the State Development Panel. Thus in the area of “good design”, which is inherently subjective, the City’s own prescriptions are open to being overturned on appeal.

Impact on Heritage buildings

It is argued by Council that permitting high rise development in the designated sites will protect the heritage architecture found in the West End. Buildings of heritage value, while concentrated in the West End, are not confined to it.

On the contrary, the Fremantle Society believes that a number of heritage buildings will be adversely affected by the proximity of buildings of the height entertained in Amendment 49. These include:

  • The Town Hall
  • Railway Station
  • Victoria Hall
  • Henderson St. warders’ cottages
  • Fremantle Post Office and
  • other heritage buildings in Market St.

Impact on the human scale of Fremantle

The proposals will destroy the prevailing human scale and character of the CBD, features that give the city its prized identity and attract hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. The Society considers that, if implemented, Scheme Amendment 49 will be out of sympathy with the human-scale of the inner East end.

Recommendations of the Fremantle Society

It is the opinion of the Fremantle Society that more consideration must be given to the impact that the proposed intense development will have on:

  • the intrinsic character of central Fremantle
  • its inherent human scale and related urban amenity
  • its heritage, social and community value
  • its predominantly low-rise profile
  • the economic viability of the West End of the CBD, and
  • traffic volumes and associated pedestrian amenity

A more sensitive approach to the re-development of the inner East end is required: one that pays greater respect to the area’s long-standing character. Such an approach should also provide incentives for re-development of currently under-used non-heritage sites.

The Local Identity Code provides guidelines for development in harmony with the existing buildings in terms of scale, building form and design. At the very least, the Council should provide an analysis of the impact the proposals will have on heritage buildings in and adjacent to the study area.

More attention should also be paid to the existing planning scheme and planning policies. Such documents give detailed guidelines for appropriate development of the sites in question. In most cases, these have been ignored or pushed aside on the erroneous assumption that they are a “barrier” to redevelopment.

The Society is strongly opposed to the concept of “bonus floors” for buildings already allowed under Amendment 49 to be between 5 and 8 storeys. If Council persists in allowing “bonus floors”, it must articulate and codify detailed criteria of good design and establish the Design Advisory Committee as part of the Local Planning Scheme, not just part of Council policy.

Fremantle Society Proposals

  • The Society’s proposal is for development on a human scale, i.e., of 4 to 5 storeys
  • The Society supports the amendment to relax parking provisions as set out in Amendment 49
  • The Society’s approach provides for the greatest development opportunities on the Woolstores shopping centre site.

From there we propose reduced heights to the city centre, in order to respect neighbouring sites:

Site Number
Description of site
Approx metres
Storeys
Comments
1
Woolstores shopping centre
22
6
2
Gas & Coke site (Wilson’s Car Park)
18.5
5
3a
Point St. to Princess May Park
11.5
3
3b
15.0
4
4
Target Block
19.5
5/6
5a
Cnr Adelaide & Point Sts.
15
4
5b
Point St behind 5a
11.5
3
6a
Johnston Court & surrounds
18.5
5
6b
Johnston Court block: Point & Josephson St. frontages
15
4
6c
Johnston Court block: High & Queen St. frontages
18.5
5
7
Cnr. High & Josephson Sts.
18.5
5
8
Oriana (cnr High & Queen Sts.)
15
4
9
Myer Block
15
4
10a
Cnr Henderson & William Sts. (Spicers site)
11.5
3
This site should front Henderson St. mall
10b
William St. behind 10a
15
4
This should be parallel to 10a
11
Kings Square South
11.5
3
12
Best & Less
11.5
3

Conclusion

In view of its strong and continuing commitment to CBD development on a human scale, the Society has no alternative but to oppose what it considers to be the inordinate heights of some of the proposed buildings under Scheme Amendment 49. The essence of the Society’s submission is that, if it is adopted, and the permitted heights are achieved, the proposed Amendment will have destroyed what is truly unique about central Fremantle – its human scale. What is more, it will have done so in pursuance of goals which could be achieved in other ways. The Council will have done all this in order to attract the interest of developers whose principal motivation is to achieve a handsome return on their investment. It is the Society’s belief that, despite the Council’s claims, there is no mandate from the Fremantle community for the proposed changes.

APPOLOGY TO STUART HICKS

The Fremantle Society elected me as the new President on December 1. I am very honoured to have been given this position and will work very hard to improve even more the communication with members and the wider community.

The AGM at the FTI was soured by one of our members attacking guest speaker Stuart Hicks and I want to appologise to Stuart for that, and will do so in person soon. It was totally inappropriate to attack the man that willingly gave us his time and expertise. It should never have happened!

Challenging times are ahead for Fremantle with the Scheme Amendment 49 proposal, that would see the inner city change forever. Our submission to council will be delivered tomorrow, as we strongly oppose excessive heights and bulk in the centre of the city.

Expect more regular social events from the Society next year, as I endeavour to tap into the broad knowledge of our membership and would like to get to know you all.

I will keep you up to date via this blog and direct emails, so that you feel an appreciated member of  the Fremantle Society family.

Roel Loopers