DAPs tweaked for more transparency

Extract – BUSINESS NEWS, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Author: Dan Wilkie
Thursday, 13 October, 2016

THE state government has moved to make the development assessment process more transparent, unveiling a raft of changes to the system in response to feedback from local governments and resident groups.

Development Assessment Panels have been in place in Western Australia since 2011, with the system designed to add an additional level of technical expertise to the planning process.

Changes announced today include publishing DAP agendas earlier, providing opportunities for developers to opt out if their project does not significantly impact local amenity, and more information to be provided in regard to why decisions are made.

Other changes include local governments being required to contact all those who provided written submissions to DAP applications to inform them of the meeting, and allowing developers to choose between local councils and DAPs when seeking minor amendments to existing approvals.
Planning Minister Donna Faragher  –faragher

– said the changes would ensure the decision-making process is better communicated and understood. Ms Faragher said the system had been reviewed twice to provide the best planning outcomes for the state.

All of the amendments can be seen below:

  • Provide an option to opt-out of a DAP in favour of a local government for developments, such as industrial warehouses, that will not significantly impact local amenity.
  • DAP agendas will be published at least seven days before a meeting – instead of the current five days – to provide greater advance notice to the public.
  • Local governments will be required to proactively contact each person who has provided a written submission in relation to a DAP application, to inform them of when the meeting will take place.
  • Responsible authority reports to include more information about why decisions can be made, to ensure that the decision-making process is clearly communicated and can be better understood.
  • DAP members and local governments to be provided with more governance support, where required.
  • DAP presiding members will be able to intervene in the ‘stop-the-clock’ process if parties disagree about the level of information that has been provided for an application.
  • Provide proponents with the option to choose between a local government or a DAP when requesting an amendment to a minor aspect of an existing development approval (Form 2).
  • Empower the Minister for Planning to remove DAP members who do not undertake the appropriate DAP training.
  • The maximum term of office for DAP members can be extended if a vacancy is waiting to be filled.
  • Add a reference to the DAP regulations that all Form 2 minor amendment meetings should be open to the public.
  • Changes to the DAP fee structure.

Fremantle’s World Famous West End Again Under Threat

5 Storeys Proposed in West End (which has a 4 storey limit)

Notes from the President

THE University of Notre Dame has refurbished many buildings in the historic West End of Fremantle and have mostly done a good job.

In the past when they  sought to build something new they have largely respected the scale of the West End, and their two new buildings in Cliff and Henry Streets are three storeys in height.

Now they propose 5 storeys on the corner of High and Cliff Streets, and excuse that unwarranted height by saying the flats on top of the old Tramways Building at 1 High Street next door are also high. But the flats were an aberration built during the rush of the America’s Cup, a mistake that should not be copied; not a precedent.

a42bd1f6-f05c-44c3-8bac-60fbe86ec427Site of proposed building on right, adjacent the tall apartments

West End’s Ground Zero

The vacant site on the corner of Cliff and High Streets needs to be built on. We have waited decades for a decent building there after the former mayor’s two storey house was demolished.

But the site is so important, it is Fremantle’s Ground Zero. Whatever goes there should be high quality and fit in with the one, two, and three storey buildings on the other three corners of the  intersection.

If Notre Dame really needs a big building, they should consider building out of the West End, to distribute their student numbers throughout Fremantle instead of adding to the monoculture they have already created in the West End.

Maximum height

Notre Dame knows that 5 storeys in the West End is NOT allowed under the town planning scheme. The MAXIMUM allowed is three storeys plus possibly a 4th storey if well set back.

The rules are there for everyone to obey and Notre Dame should obey the rules. The fact that Fremantle Council has allowed other inappropriate and overscaled developments does not mean Notre Dame should join in with the developers whose only interest is money. Fremantle Council have been discussing these plans for a year with the university and they have been several times in front of the $1,000 an hour DAC (Design Advisory Committee) committee, so the fact that a year later we see a 5 storey proposal coming to the community is greatly disturbing, and simply not good enough.

“Safe”?

The proposed design is another matter altogether and a detailed discussion can be held when the plans are published online.  An initial impression is, that like the other two new Notre Dame buildings by the same architect, the design is too ‘boxy’ and features too much glass. We are told there will be a theatre included which may be a public asset.

The Mayor keeps saying the “West End is safe.” This is another example of where it is not.

CONCERNS OVER PORT SMALL BAR – FREMANTLE HERALD

October 7 2016, by Your Herald, in News

 

weighbridge-035

Photo: Colin Nichol

FREMANTLE council has approved plans to turn the old weighbridge at Fremantle port into a small bar, despite Public Transport Authority concerns over pedestrian safety.

The heritage-listed building is positioned on the notoriously confusing Cliff/Phillimore Street intersection and is close to a railway level crossing, but council voted to approve the micro boozer.

“People cross the railway line to get to Little Creatures and there are countless pubs positioned near busy roads and intersections,” Cr Hannah Fitzhardinge said.

“The weighbridge is laying empty and we need to activate empty heritage buildings in creative ways—inaccessible heritage is heritage lost.

“One of the big selling points of Fremantle is its quirky experiences—having a small bar in the old weighbridge fits that ethos.”

During council question time a member of the Fremantle Society argued against the bar, saying that the explosion of boozers in the city was turning Fremantle into “Northbridge by the sea.”

Applicant David Anthony said he wouldn’t make a big profit from the venue and that it would be a cute “speak easy” for locals.

Cr Dave Hume said the Fremantle Society opposed any progress in the city and that the weighbridge had been gathering dust since Scoot Freo closed.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

 

MILLS UNDER SPOTLIGHT – FREMANTLE HERALD

October 7, 2016 · by Your Herald · in News.

FOLLOWING last week’s Herald front page story,  (Mills to go? October 1, 2016) Fremantle council reclassified the redevelopment of Mills Records as “significant”, and it will now be widely advertised and open for public comment until November 7 – with a community information session in the wings.

The future of the long-standing record shop was thrown into doubt when plans emerged to redeveloped the site into five-storey tourist accommodation with ground floor retail.

Council staff have told Mill’s owner Andrew Bailey if he is evicted he would be given help to find other Fremantle premises.

The proposed five-storey accommodation includes 40 rooms, 12 parking spaces and a shop.

Responding to criticism for failing to advise Mr Bailey, the landlord said the real estate company managing the site had written to tenants prior to the development being advertised: “Not all tenants were available. Those that were, were advised.”

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

 

ARCHITECT’S CRITIQUE – FREMANTLE HERALD

October 7, 2016 · by Your Herald · in News

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

A FREMANTLE architect who established heritage guidelines for the redevelopment of Atwell Arcade says the project has “gone off the rails” and deviates from its planning approvals.

“[Stripped] of its historical references, [it] shares its impersonal and generalist design with shopping…malls anywhere,” Sasha Ivanovich says.

He was on Fremantle council’s design advisory committee when the $16.5 million redevelopment was approved in 2014, and says the arcade’s heritage has been ignored and the building modernised, counter to approvals.

“During construction, original heritage features like timber mouldings were uncovered but these have been ignored,” he says.

“Though there has been some restoration of original glass shopfronts, new contemporary style materials have been introduced.

05-41newsFinishes to Atwell Arcade concern Fremantle architect Sasha Ivanovich

“Substantial restoration has been performed…intermixed with a modern look fascia to the street canopies.”

Council’s system of checking whether developments comply with planning approvals is flawed and should be revamped, Mr Ivanovich says.

He sits on Vincent council’s design advisory committee and is a member of the state government’s Development Assessment Panel, and says the DAC must review documents when they reach the building license and construction phase.

“They would be most sensitive to design issues and be alert to the carefully worded conditions of original planning approval,” he says.

“Whilst council remains shy of enforcing every detail in planning approvals, there can only be more breaches in a process that is considerably invested in time and professional resources.”

05-41news2

The Fremantle Society backs Mr Ivanovich’s call for a revamp

“You only need to look at the brutal aluminium shopfronts on Boost Juice and City Beach to see the system is failing,” president John Dowson says.

“City Beach installed a timber-framed shop front, but recently it was ripped out and replaced with a totally modern full glass shop front… inappropriate to the heritage of the arcade.

“[It] represents a missed opportunity, and is another sub standard development in the tsunami of unacceptable developments hitting Fremantle’s valuable heritage heart.”

Fremantle council planning director Paul Trotman says he is aware of Mr Ivanovic’s concerns and is reviewing the matters raised.

 

Bad News and Good News

 

 

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Tsunami of Poor Quality Development Continues

The bad news is that yet another low quality oversized building is proposed for the heritage heart of Fremantle as above.

The bad news is that council said the 5 storey backpacker box is not a significant development and therefore the public doesn’t need to know about it.

The good news is that following two letters from the Fremantle Society  to the Fremantle Council and a front page story in today’s Herald, they now admit it is a significant development, and therefore we are allowed to know about it.