Dr Linley Lutton/ Council Elections

Dr Linley Lutton

It is with great sorrow and distress that the Fremantle Society informs its members that Dr Linley Lutton, who has helped the Society so much, is gravely ill.

Dr Lutton, while leading a busy life teaching at UWA and running Urbanix Design, has given his urban planning expertise freely to the community in Fremantle and elsewhere. He sums up his philosophy in his LinkedIn profile:

Dr Lutton’s Philosophy

My professional life started as an architect, however in the mid 1990’s I studied Urban Social Geography and so started my journey down the path of urban planning. It took some time for me to find my core philosophy but once found I now see all of my work and teaching with great clarity. To me, human ecology is at the centre of good urban planning. City planning in Western Australia is moving rapidly from ‘planning for the good of the people’ to ‘planning to facilitate property development’. The community has no ability to appeal or object to planning decisions no matter how poor they are. Our Government makes short-term planning decisions based on political whim rather than sound planning principles. Much of the rest of the developed world is embracing the process of co-production where the community is fully involved in planning decisions while Western Australia moves in a more autocratic direction. People have the right to demand better of their city planners and architects. They have the right to live in an environment which provides the essential elements required for them to lead healthy, contented lives. In recent times I have begun to publically challenge the ill-conceived city planning ideologies and projects emanating from our Government planning and redevelopment agencies. On one hand, this puts me at odds with professionals, bureaucrats and politicians however on the other hand it puts me in synchrony with most of the community who are the real owners of the city. Few professionals are prepared to speak up and challenge the system and there is no joy in doing so. I feel it is irresponsible to remain silent when I see my city being ruined through poor planning. My great dream is to see our cities and towns full of soul and authentic character reflecting the spirit of people.

Dr Lutton’s Help to the Fremantle Society

Dr Lutton was an inaugural member of Fremantle Council’s Design Advisory Committee and resigned when it was obvious the committee was being subverted, and after the 5 storey Quest Apartments in Pakenham Street were approved. He subsequently wrote a report on the project to assess its effectiveness, calling the approval ‘possibly technically illegal.’

Before the Atwell Arcade development was approved he wrote on behalf of the Fremantle Society a 12 page assessment for councillors and staff, which was ignored, resulting in the destruction of the best remaining arcade in Fremantle, the destruction of adjacent gold rush roofscapes with the large glass office box, further damage to shopfronts, and a failure to deliver what was promised by the developer.

A perfectly good Point Street development scheme approved unanimously by the previous council, was torn up by Cr Sullivan and the mayor, resulting in years of delay and a mediocre outcome: The city has embarked on a massive, arguably unrealistic redevelopment program, and I witnessed the preparedness on many occasions by certain elected members to override the advice of independent design experts to ensure this program could at least appear to be proceeding. Point Street is a perfect example (Dr Lutton to Roel Loopers 2014).

When Dr Lutton resigned from the DAC his comments were dismissed by the mayor and no effort was made to sit down with Dr Lutton and learn from his concerns.

Dr Lutton wrote a report for the Fremantle Society on the value of King’s Square. It was likewise ignored.

Dr Lutton’s Thinking Allowed Herald 19/9/2014

FREMANTLE city council is misusing its planning scheme to facilitiate poor development outcomes in Fremantle’s heritage-rich West End precinct.

The development industry argument that heritage hinders commercial progress is alive and well and people who try to voice their concerns are labelled “negative”.

Two over-height and poorly designed developments have now been approved in the West End because developers claimed extra height is needed in this height–restricted area in order to achieve commercially viable developments.

For years, in Perth’s CBD, cynical developers have shoe-horned characterless buildings behind heritage facades and this approach is now being applied in Fremantle where approving authorities are jumping to support their initiatives.

It was deplorable to hear that in Fremantle recently the council, at a specially convened meeting, listened to a conga line of commercially-focussed people speaking in support of the redevelopment of Atwell Arcade while one lone figure tried in vain to remind the council of its responsibility to heritage conservation.

What is glaringly obvious here is the powerful influence—both negative and positive—that sense-of-place has on urban dwellers is not understood. The unique sense-of-place associated with heritage environments is highly valued in most Australian capital cities because it offers respite from otherwise utilitarian intensity.
Sense-of-place triggers strong memories, attachments and behaviours at community and personal levels.

Our very identities are shaped by sense-of-place. Fremantle’s West End precinct, regarded as Perth’s most valuable tourism asset, exhibits a sense of place found nowhere else in the Perth metropolitan area. This is largely due to its scale, streetscape and evocative architecture. Alarmingly, a pattern may be emerging which threatens the overall integrity of this very special place.

Inappropriate developments are now being approved in the West End by misusing a clause in the town planning scheme intended to protect Fremantle’s heritage character. The clause gives the council the capacity to vary any site or development provision, without limitation, in order to preserve heritage values.

However, it does not give the council carte blanche to disregard other broader aims dealing with a variety of issues including preservation of Fremantle’s character. Paradoxically, this powerful clause aimed at heritage preservation is being cherry-picked from a planning framework to facilitate developments which compromise heritage values.

There are two critical points here. First, the capability of a property to return a development profit is never a criterion used to assess development applications. Only in major urban redevelopment areas is it considered relevant.

Developers always push the envelope and in localities anxious to see development occur they will try to convince gullible decision-makers to accommodate greater demands. Regardless of how compelling a developer’s commercial argument may be it has no place in any development assessment process. It was highly inappropriate for Fremantle’s design advisory committee (DAC) to cite commercial capability as a reason to support the Atwell Arcade development. This is an issue well outside this DAC’s formal terms of reference. Additionally, there is nothing in Fremantle’s planning scheme which allows variations to site or development provisions to satisfy commercial capability.

Second, Fremantle councillors, and the DAC cannot work outside the totality of Fremantle’s planning framework, which comprises many interrelated documents thick with phrases such as: developments are to achieve an exceptionally high standard in terms of appearance; developments are to be distinctive befitting their location; and, developments are to complement and contribute to the community’s desired identity and character for Fremantle.

Additionally, the DAC must satisfy itself that a development promotes character by responding to and reinforcing locally distinctive patterns of development and culture. A third party objective assessment of the two approved projects would most likely conclude that neither satisfies the broad intent of many sections in Fremantle’s planning framework including the overall stated aim to protect and conserve Fremantle’s unique cultural heritage. The approvals could be open to challenge because they so obviously ignore many pertinent sections of Fremantle’s planning framework.

Precedent is everything in planning and the precedent is now set for increased heights and characterless modern buildings in the West End. Preservation of the community’s desired character for Fremantle, a clearly stated aim of Fremantle’s planning scheme, has been ignored in order to satisfy development-driven commercial gain. Future developers can now expect height increases anywhere in the West End, even when the design outcomes are perfunctory and the results are clearly visible from the surrounding streets. All they need do is maintain the building’s façade, which they should be doing as a matter of course in this precinct, make a few internal heritage preservation gestures and then propose whatever they like behind and above. In the process the West End’s overall cohesive scale and unspoilt sense of place is eroded.

The Fremantle community should think long and hard about its attitude to the West End because your elected members and their advisory committee are beginning the process of erosion and the character of this special place is not replaceable.

Planning a city is serious business, and Dr Linley Lutton is seriously good at it. The Fremantle Society will continue to remind people of the work he has done, which is still relevant to where we are headed.

Council Elections

Voting for the elections finishes this week. The incumbents and the annointed few new look like getting four years on council, so energetic and co-ordinated has been their electioneering, and so helped have they been by hundreds of thousands of ratepayer dollars being expended promoting every council action under the sun.

The Fremantle Herald has seriously let down the community during this election, in order to protect the large advertising budget they receive from Fremantle Council. The Herald is well aware of the true financial figures that continue to cause alarm, they understand the poor quality decision making and waste of money, and the survey results which again show widespread dissatisfaction in the community which is not being addressed. And don’t even mention Australia Day.

There is no such thing as a ‘failed council candidate’.

Anyone who put their hand up to run at these elections deserves the gratitude of the community for ‘having a go.’

There has been enough angst and emotion in this election to prove that the status quo must change whoever wins. Things must be done better, more inclusively, and more economically responsibly. Will they?

 

More Mediocrity on the Way


Election Analysis

In recent months the Fremantle Society has covered many issues as it sought to engage the community and promote better quality outcomes. There have been the results of the community satisfaction surveys, the vexed design and financial aspects of King’s Square, the poor quality of many of the new developments, the continual selling off of income-producing assets at often bargain prices, and the dumb deals like buying the Dockers out, and wasting millions on a depot site that isn’t being used. Etc. Etc.

But here we are in the week when the ballot papers start coming out, and all we have seen is the press giving the mayor endless photo opportunities, with little scrutiny. The mayoral debate tonight will be but a blip in the radar unless the media report the differing points of view in detail and give Ra a chance to get her message across. It has been tough for the sole contender against the incumbent to get traction when every time she explains why she is running she gets accused of being ‘negative’. That tactic is used by the mayor and his coterie of councillors all the time.

Failure to Tap into Fremantle’s Expertise

The single biggest failure of the mayor and his acolytes has been the dismissal of those who are not part of the ‘team Brad’. In the past 8 years, as he has energetically gone about his mantra of ‘revitalisation’, the mayor has ignored the very people who have the expertise to nurture and navigate change, without damaging the very thing that brings people to Fremantle in the first place – its heritage and character. Instead he has allied himself closely with developers, and those who think loud music and alcohol are planning tools.

The spin and party politics have been so pervasive in this election that some Fremantle Society members who contemplated getting involved, simply walked away. There are still five Fremantle Society members contesting the elections, and five former members.

In City Ward, while there is no doubt Adin Lang is charismatic and genuinely useful on green issues, Lynda Wayman seriously well qualified but seen as the mayor’s candidate, and Roel Loopers well intentioned but a total ‘flip flop’ on issues, the candidate who would best scrutinise council and who has done the hard yards in preparation is Claudia Green. There is another candidate Julie Morgan, who did so much modernisation to the heritage facade of her building (Bairds Buildings between P&O and Orient in High Street), that she should not be eligible to run, except perhaps out of town.

In North and East Ward there is no real contest. Talented and experienced former Fremantle Society President Jenny Archibald is running in East Ward with the support of the mayor and should win easily. In Beaconsfield the popular Fedele Camarda is up against the Labor Party machinery, and in South Ward Marija Vujcic offers reality and hope for some level-headedness against Cr Sullivan, who has done more damage than most councillors in recent years, and the young and determined Greens candidate Liam Carter. In Hilton the quietly talented and sensible Catherine Hammond is up against the Socialist Alliance incumbent Cr Wainwright.

What You Will Get After the Election

Finally, when the election is over and you wake up to what is hiding around the corner, take a good long look at the next monstrosity (at the top of this page) to be inflicted on Fremantle thanks to Dr Pettitt and Andrew Sullivan and their scheme amendment 49 in particular.

The plans are currently before the Design Advisory Committee (photo Roel Loopers blog).

Remember – Mayoral Debate Tuesday (tonight) 6.30 at Notre Dame

The Fremantle Society wants a Bigger (and better) Fremantle

Reminder: Mayoral Debate Tuesday
3 October Tannock Hall Cliff Street 6.30pm

This important community event is sponsored by the Fremantle Society and is your chance to hear from both mayoral candidates, incumbent Dr Brad Pettitt, and challenger Ra Stewart.

Secession?

To be sustainable Fremantle Council needs to grow its population and its land area, not annoy people so much they don’t want to be part of us.

There is currently another push from North Fremantle residents to secede from Fremantle.  A previous effort to secede just a small area near Mosman Park failed, but now there is a much more ambitious plan, which seeks to take all of North Fremantle except Fremantle Ports land into an amalgamation with Mosman Park.

The mayor of Mosman Park Ron Norris had a meeting with seven of the group a couple of weeks ago. Mosman Park has accepted the idea in principle, and the Fremantle Society has been told by the mayor and the secessionist side that the concern from locals revolves around dissatisfaction with Fremantle Council in general and specific concerns about foreshore and insurance issues.

East Fremantle made it very clear they did not want a voluntary amalgamation with Fremantle when they had the chance.

Hamilton Hill residents next door to Fremantle booed the amalgamation idea so much at a public meeting last year, Fremantle councillors Coggin and Hume slunk out of the hall.

When the amalgamation of Fremantle and Melville was mooted by the Liberal government, Melville Council told the Fremantle Society they thought the Fremantle finances were so suspect, they would not be interested.

Cockburn has refused to give an inch of its northern suburbs, even though the South Fremantle power station is not in Fremantle but Cockburn.

The North Fremantle group have not made the secession an election issue, because they want nothing to do with Fremantle Council. Their chances of success may be slim, but the totality of rejection of Fremantle Council by so many people, should be a wakeup call to the council. This is especially true during the current mayoral election where Dr Pettitt is seeking a third term.

This issue should motivate the mayor and council to do a better job, to cut the spin and fake news, and to represent the whole community – not just small segments of it.

John Dowson
President
The Fremantle Society
john.dowson@yahoo.com

Coming soon: Election analysis

This Election Should be About Quality

The two pictures here are indicative of the problems the community faces when developers not only push the boundaries as to what is allowed to be built, but then inflict on their communities a quality of architecture that is utterly inappropriate, unloveable, and NOT the ‘heritage of the future,’ Dr Pettitt keeps promising us.

The first photograph here is from Bayswater, showing plans from the Fremantle based Yolk Property Group for something that has locals seething. The second image is from the Yolk website showing the new 4 storey building they have inflicted on the West End, described by one long term resident as ‘the worst building in the West End.’

This election should be about getting not only value for money (our council property assets have crashed from $60 million to $20 million under Dr Pettitt) but BETTER QUALITY.

The Fremantle Society has repeatedly asked for a proper review of the Design Advisory Committee of Fremantle Council, which costs $1,000 an hour in fees to run. The Chairman is still Professor Geoffrey London, who was nominated for the committee by the mayor 8 years ago, and who, at the very first meeting of the committee, rejoiced at plans revealed for 18 storeys on the Coles Woolstore site opposite the railway station. The committee, and mayor and council, have failed to prevent poor quality developments in Fremantle, damaging to the value of Fremantle as a special place.

Nominations Have Closed

Nominations for council elections closed at 4pm today.

Some candidates have been scared off by the juggernaut of Labor politics and its influence in these local elections, and by the hostile social media campaigns attacking anyone as being negative who dares question Fremantle Council.

For the mayoral position, only Ra Stewart has put her hand up to take on the incumbent Dr Pettitt. The mayor Dr Pettitt, on his nomination form, states that he delivers ‘sound financial governance’ when the reality is that the government website MyCouncil rated Fremantle as having the WORST financial management of any metropolitan council. A score of 70 represents sound financial health. Fremantle Council is rated a 42. By comparison, our neighbours, Melville, have a rating of 98.

The alarm bells should be ringing. The community cannot afford another four years of this.

Dr Pettitt also says there has been ‘better community consultation’, whereas the latest community satisfaction survey shows in the How the Community is Consulted section, that satisfaction has DROPPED since the last survey. 31% think consultation is excellent or good, but 41% think it is terrible or poor.

Given that Dr Pettitt has received around $1 million of ratepayers’ money since elected, he should tell the truth about the actual results so far after 8 years as mayor, and deliver what he keeps promising.

For North Ward, high rise advocate Michele Corbo will run against incumbent Doug Thompson.

In South Ward, Greens candidate Liam Carter will run against incumbent ‘ex Green’ candidate Cr Sullivan, who advertises himself as a ‘recognised leader’ and a ‘heritage expert’. No comment needed. Jennifer Suffling, Maria Vujcic, and Ben Moodie round off an interesting group.

For Hilton, Catherine Hammond is standing against incumbent Socialist Cr Wainright.

In Beaconsfield, Fedele Camarda will run against the Labor Party’s Hannah Fitzhardinge.

In East Ward, Michelle Cunningham will run against Jenny Archibald.

In City Ward, Roel Loopers, Adin Lang, Claudia Green, Lynda Wayman, and Julie Morgan will contest that seat.

What Happened in 2009?

An interesting book entitled To the Beach lies on the shelf of New Editions. It posits that the North Port Quay issue of 2009 was a defining issue that shaped politics in Fremantle since.

It is not often that a whole book is devoted to one local Fremantle issue. One reviewer wrote:

Ever since Rats in the Ranks we have known that local politics can be fascinating. Thor Kerr provides a heady analysis of the volatile swirl of sentiment, advertising, politics, activism and sheer opportunism that determined the outcome of a key development in Fremantle in 2009. Kerr has a keen eye for capturing public personalities with a telling detail, and brings the tools of cultural analysis to bear on media stories, images, policy documents and popular discourses. Both as a Fremantle local and a cultural theorist I learned a lot about the mechanics and machinations by which conflicts of development, environmentalism, heritage and local politics played out on this particular ground – and indeed continue to reverberate through the city. PROFESSOR SUVENDRINI PERERA, CURTIN UNIVERSITY

Mayoral Debate

The Fremantle Society has for a long time been a co-sponsor of political debates in Fremantle.

Cr Pemberton and the Chamber of Commerce, also co-sponsors, tried to get rid of the Fremantle Society this time, by having us excluded.

But, we are back, at the insistence of the university, and would like to invite you all to the next mayoral debate at Tannock Hall (University of Notre Dame), Cliff Street, on Tuesday 3rd October at 6pm. More details later.

Public Art – What are we Getting?

The Fremantle Society is keen to see high quality urban art to to ensure high quality streetscapes. This is the letter we wrote this week to the Director of Planning:

to: The Director of Planning Mr Paul Garbett

Dear Paul,

The Fremantle Society keen to see high quality public art and high quality restoration projects, but is concerned with the effectiveness of the Percent for Art Program.

The intention of the program was to provide money for heritage or public art. Developers have to spend 1% of the value of their project either on public art or heritage works.

This is an opportunity to make a positive contribution to the public realm with art that is loved and appreciated and which enhances the urban streetscape on a permanent basis, or heritage improvements that add to the authenticity of Fremantle.

It would appear that what the public have received so far has in most cases been very poor quality art installations, often affixed to the property of the developer.

Examples:

a) The Fremantle Society wrote to council about the unattractive sheets of blue plastic on the Quest apartments at 8 Pakenham Street and were told that council was satisfied that those few sheets constituted the developers requirement for $140,000 worth of public art.

The developer was also required to produce an archeological report. The Fremantle Society has read the detailed and excellent report, but is dismayed to see that such an important site, where the largest private house in the State once stood, is not interpreted in any meaningful way for residents or tourists. Council should have insisted that the archaeological report form part of the brief for interpretive work carried out and then monitor the outcomes of the program.

b) 50 Pakenham Street: This dismal four storey development has a metal disc stuck on the side of the building which appears to represent the required percent for art.

c) Atwell Arcade Project: The Fremantle Society asks what was the percent for art requirement for this project? There are a series of metal poles recently installed in the High Street Mall which many people find offensive, intrusive, and interfering with views of the Town Hall and High Street. Do those poles constitute the required public art from Silverleaf?

d) The King’s Square project is a $270 million project, meaning that $2.7 million needs to be spent on public art of heritage. Can we have details of what is proposed there please?

e) The LIV apartment complex currently being built in Queen Victoria Street is a $61 million project, meaning that $610,000 is required to be spent on art or heritage, a sizeable sum.

We ask (i) What works are projected to be created with that $610,000? (ii) Can we please have a copy of the archaeological study done for that important historic site?

Regards

____________________________

John Dowson
President
The Fremantle Society
0409 22 36 22

FREMANTLE COUNCIL ELECTION 2011 CANDIDATES’ FORUM

 

FREMANTLE COUNCIL ELECTION 2011 

CANDIDATES’ Q&A FORUM

THURS  29  SEPTEMBER   7 – 9 pm

 COUNCIL RECEPTION ROOM WM STREET  FREMANTLE

(access via stairs opposite Myer)

BEACONSFIELD WARD

Georgie Adeane  & Dave Hume

 CITY WARD  

Ivan Dzeba,  Rachel Pemberton  &  Michael Swanepoel

  EAST WARD  

Steve Boni  & Ingrid Waltham

Members are invited to come along, ask questions  and find out where the candidates stand on important local issues.  The formal part of Forum concludes 8:40pm and conversations continue over tea and coffee.

SPONSORED BY:  THE FREMANTLE SOCIETY,  THE FREMANTLE NETWORK, FREMANTLE GREENS AND FREMANTLE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE