Below is an email I received from Paul Loring – as much as I wanted to I decided to copy it unedited:The Freo Heritage group and local rag and paid to have a scale model of the Amendment 40 proposal built and no on display in the afternoons at the Freo Woolworths foyer. Really helps having a 3d model. Highlights the need for purpose, design and proper architectural input. I am not an architect, I live close to Freo. Couple of topics below that might be worth considering, if you haven’t already, both about town planning. A general concern I have about Perth Architecture is that it seems to focus on buildings, rather than the Town. I find many examples today being like a heap of children’s building bricks, eg, 140 William, sometimes they even colour them like kids bricks! Freo Amendment 49 Fremantle Council has an economic development strategy, that includes a major redevelopment of 12 blocks, or 17 owned buildings east of the Square. Amendment 49 deals with building heights, and some concept of architectural merit. But my biggest concern is it isn’t being planned from a holistic perspective, ie, it is just 17 individual developments, which may or may not be developed at all. Shouldn’t the Perth Architectural community be worried and more involved in developing an overall vision, before considering each development. Does it needs a development corporation? The Subi example may suggest ‘No’, East Perth ‘Yes’. What does the town want from such a large redevelopment ie, nearly 20% of the Freo? The Strategy gives the density of residence, office and retail, but the mix of residential is far too vague, if anything setting us up for Subi. But what about light rail, pedestrianisation, bike friendly; community and social space and facility; where do children play who live in 17 adjacent blocks?; would we have 17 sets of lifts and escalators, 17 car parks, 17 Tri gen facilities, 17 court yards, etc? State Wide Planning a Vision Perth can’t remain all things, to all, in perpetuity. As it will take 100years to build new Metros (unless you are like China), shouldn’t we be openly and actively be talking about the next two Metro Cities for WA, today? Why aren’t the WA schools of architecture and town planning driving this into the Public debate? Where are the competitions to locate and design a 21 century Metro? I don’t mean Joondalup and Rockingham, or the few thousand planned for Pilbara city. I mean two Metros that will stand the test of time as unique powerful cities of 500,000+ in their own right. Hence a significant distance from Perth eg, Carnarvon, Port Headland, Bunbury, Albany. Perth remaining the admin and capital centre. But these two places having their own identity, Footie teams, characteristics. But all 3 connected by a sophisticated transport, and utility services, eg, fast rail. Bringing water from the north to Perth hasn’t proved viable, but if it served a new Metro on its route, subsequently linking it to Perth as phase 2 might (applying that type of thinking). Perth is already a place of constant development conflict, so the sprawl continues. Hence, through initiatives like land release, divert WA growing population to the two identified Metros on mass, ie, 80% growth for them, less than 20% for Perth. Thus giving Perth change towards density and sustainability at a generational pace. WA would become the most powerful State with 3 Metros, eventually outstripping Sydney and Melbourne.
Thanks Paul, and sorry I didn’t get to this earlier. From the little I have followed it, the Fremantle issue seems to only be concentrating on the height implications, and not a holistic planning approach, which is so short-sighted. Freo’s mayor Brad Pettit has provided this post on recent amendments. Will be interesting to see how this one develops. There has been a recent tendency in Fremantle to take so long arguing about the development that nothing happens, and unfortunately the place is currently not as good as it has the potential to be.