Eulogy for Linley Lutton

Linley Lutton Funeral Monday 15 January 2018
My name is John Dowson, President of the Fremantle Society. I first met Linley when I was deputy mayor of Fremantle and we both attended the inaugural meeting of the Fremantle Design Advisory Committee.  At that meeting he was, as he wrote, in ‘a minority chorus when I challenged the Woolstores proposal for 18 storey buildings.’ I saw Linley in action speaking common sense, something which unfortunately is not very common.
Later he resigned from that committee because of the way Fremantle Council was handling major developments. At a subsequent large public meeting he pleaded for the community to be more engaged with the planning process, especially as they are the largest landowners and stakeholders in the city. He said if the community disengages,  ‘the vacuum is filled by others who treat the city as their personal fiefdom.’
Linley helped with a range of issues and provided reports on major developments. He led the City Gate Keeper campaign to try and get better quality outcomes at Elizabeth Quay.
Linley was particularly concerned at the relentless push for higher density developments while at the same time concerned at Australians obsession with larger and larger houses with insufficient outdoor living space, trees or landscape. He always argued his case like the gentleman he was. Lana Turner may have said “a gentleman is simply a patient wolf’ but Linley was rational and kind, imbued with the philosophy of ‘sense of place’ that epitomised George Seddon’s work.
In terms of density: ‘The fundamental flaw in our planner’s thinking is their belief that, through density, cities become livelier and more connected. What they fail to grasp is that it is the intensely rich sensory experience and diverse mix of human activity, not density, which makes cities so liveable. Simply increasing residential densities does not in itself improve the quality of city life. ‘
It has been very hard for people like Linley to be heard and to be effective when developers in this state have so much power and influence at state and local government level, and when bodies like the Heritage Council are basically now a developers’ club, and the National Trust focus on education and not advocacy. There is a great deal of stress working pro bono work in a hostile environment.
Still, he achieved a great deal and inspired many people. The clear signposts he has given us point to a better future. Linley’s philosophy is neatly summed up by the headline in the Post: Linley dreamt of cities full of soul. He wants ‘cities and towns full of soul and authentic character, reflecting the spirit of people.’
I hope Linley’s students carry his philosophy with them through their lives, and I hope Linley’s friends celebrate this wonderful unselfish man, by helping to promote the values he so lovingly put forward.
John Dowson
The Fremantle Society

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