October 7, 2016 · by Your Herald · in News


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“[Stripped] of its historical references, [it] shares its impersonal and generalist design with shopping…malls anywhere,” Sasha Ivanovich says.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


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.



Last year, having a decent budget for a change,  we had a very good Fremantle Heritage Festival. Having a new mayor helped, as did having a very energetic officer in Alex Marshall.  Also, the Fremantle Society did a lot of work and their events attracted many people. I had 96 people attend a talk I did with Fremantle’s senior architect Rob McCampbell at the old asylum.

It will be over my dead body that Council gets rid of the long running Heritage Festival. Apart from anything else, it  incorporates the annual Heritage Awards, something which has run  successfully for 30 years.

We already have seen Council ditch the very strong heritage committee it had, and the Heritage Festival should be left where it is as a major annual event on our calendar at the end of May.

This year, with the ISAF sailing championships, there will be increased numbers in town for the November Fremantle Festival. I would certainly support an improved Fremantle Festival, and heritage should always be part of that festival too, as it is the character and stories of Fremantle which attract people in the first place.

But, Fremantle needs a good festival every few monthsI during the year.  I would like to see a few blockbuster heritage events this year, like a Son et Lumiere at the World Heritage listed Fremantle Prison for example. I am speaking with some hotshot experts to see if they can be enticed to Fremantle to present their views and expertise on heritage issues, whether those issues be planning matters, port related, advice on restoration, or here just as an excuse for a good debate.

City of Fremanle Councilor John Dowson