THIS is how you design a supermarket

Why Can’t Fremantle Have Quality Development?

The two photographs here are of a new supermarket in London. Why are they relevant to Fremantle?

Gerard O’Brien of Silverleaf, responsible for utterly forgettable developments around town, and for not keeping his promises about them, has submitted new plans for the Coles Woolstore site in Fremantle opposite the railway station, an iconic entry site deserving quality.

The plans are out for public comment, and already there are comments from Gerard OBrien that Coles and Target will leave Fremantle if they don’t get what Gerard O’Brien is going to give them, and commentary from some members of the public to ‘just get one with it’ and ‘accept mediocrity.’

Council policy guidelines already exist to guide new developments and encourage good quality, but they get ignored. If Fremantle Society members ignore this opportunity to ask for good quality, we will yet again get mediocrity.

We have just endured 30 years of mediocrity on the Coles Woolstore site, and now we are expected to put up with more.

Meanwhile in London, new developments like the one pictured above, show what can happen.

The images show a new Waitrose supermarket in an old train shed at King’s Cross, London. It features, besides groceries, a wine bar, live jazz on Thursday evenings, a coffee shop, juice bar, and a cooking school.

The Gerard OBrien proposal not only gives us a very ordinary development, with too much glass, no effort to get rid of the six mediocre little shops along Queen Street, and a Coles reduced by 1100 sqm, but there is no indication we will be getting a better quality supermarket.

British supermarkets like this Waitrose one are 20 years ahead of Australian supermarkets like Coles. Where is the discussion to get Coles to do a better job, so that the site goes from being one with one of the highest rates of shoplifting in Australia, to a destination people actually want to hang out at?

You should at least ask for something better from Gerard and Coles.

You have until 21 August to submit your comments to Fremantle Council. Details on council’s website under “Have Your Say.”

John Dowson
The Fremantle Society

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