Rarely a dull moment – Animated advertising, Public art contributions, A microbrewery, The Freo Alternative, Scheme amendment for old Hagen Court area, Differential rates

Welcome back to our regular feature, Rarely a dull moment with Gayle O’Leary, where we report on the highlights of Council’s regular, now fortnightly, meetings. We would have titled the feature Never a dull moment, but didn’t want to over-promise!

Several planning items of interest at the Ordinary Council Meeting on Wednesday night, 8 May just gone. Some flashier than others, it has to be said.

Watching it on the online recording after the OCM, I picked up some negative community sentiment brewing over fears that some of the developments in question might have an impact on them or their neighbours.

Some of the proposals do hint at exciting, albeit controversial, ideas for the City, if you ask me.

And I have to ask, is anyone else struggling to hear the online recordings or do I need to get my hearing tested? Turning it up to volume 70 on my tv does little to improve audibility for most of it. If only my ears were as long as my fellow listeners…

Feigning disinterest…


A very quick run through:

An animated digital advertising screen – C2405-1 Deferred Item – Pritchard Street, Nos. 6-8 (Lots 93 And 90), O’Connor – Animated Sign Addition And Partial Change Of Use To Use Not Listed (Large Format Third Party Digital Advertising) (DA0264/23)

Council voted against the Officer recommendation for refusal and instead elected to:

APPROVE under the Metropolitan Region Scheme and Local Planning Scheme No. 4 the Animated Sign Addition and Partial Change of Use to Use Not Listed (Large Format Third Party Digital Advertising) at Nos. 6-8 (Lots 90 and 93) Pritchard Street, O’Connor, subject to twelve detailed conditions and six advice notes that you can view here.

Concerns associated with this proposal that prompted the recommendation for refusal from the Council Officers included –
• Height and size (9.2m high with a 12.48m (wide) x 3.2m (high) 39.9m2 digital screen)
• Precedent
• Light spill for adjoining residences facing it on the opposite side of South Street
• Third party advertising rather than advertising businesses onsite.

The proponents and Cr Sullivan argued in defence of this large sign, urging councillors to agree that “it would not be incongruous at all” and that older industrial estates such as these need assistance in staying competitive compared to other sites throughout Perth.

Landscaping is being offered as a balm to compensate for the visual impact and luminosity of the sign will be restricted via condition 5 of the approval.

There is also a local precedent, perhaps. I can think of another digital screen on High Street that displays third party advertising as well for businesses not located within the City of Fremantle. Is it compatible with its immediate context? Ask a planner!

To keep or not to keep the 1% contribution to public art on the Old Woolstores site – C2405-2 Cantonment Street No.28 (Lot 10), Fremantle – Amendments To DAP005/23 (Three (3) Storey Mixed Use (Shop, Office, Liquor Store- Small And Childcare Premises) Development) Involving The Proposed Deletion Of Condition No. 26 (DAPV002/24)

Council voted to DEFER this item until the next Council meeting (rather than support the Officer’s Recommendation to refuse) under the Metropolitan Region Scheme and Local Planning Scheme No. 4, the deletion of condition No.26 of the existing development approval ref. DAP005/23 of a Three (3) Storey Mixed Use [Shop, Office, Liquor Store – Small and Child Care Premises] Development), at No. 28 (Lot 10) Cantonment Street, Fremantle – the Woolstores development.

Condition No.26 provides –

‘Prior to occupation of the development, the owner shall contribute a monetary amount equal in value to one percent of the estimated development cost, as indicated on the Form of Application for Planning Approval, to the City of Fremantle for development of public art works and/or heritage works to enhance the public realm consistent with the City’s LPP 2.19 and to the satisfaction of the City of Fremantle. Based on the estimated cost of the development being $14 million the contribution to be made is $140,000. Alternatively, the City may way the requirement in relation to the public art contribution, the applicant is advised that Council may waive the requirement for the public art/heritage work contribution in accordance with clause 6 of LPP 2.19 where the development incorporates public art in the development to the same value as that specified in the condition that is located in a position clearly visible to the general public on the site of the development. In determining the appropriateness and artistic merit of the public art, council shall seek relevant professional advice.’

Local Planning Policy 2.19 Contributions for Public Art and/or Heritage requires eligible development (over 1000m2 or with a project cost of over $1 million) to contribute the equivalent of 1% of the project cost “for the development of public art and / or heritage works to enhance the public realm”.

The proponents argue that this condition should be waived on the basis of the project cost due to:
• Additional design requirements such as the brick podium
• Escalating construction industry costs
• Decontamination
• Improvements to the Queen Street verge.

They cited in their justification the legal precedent established by the Supreme Court of WA case of Clive Elliott Jennings & Co Pty Ltd v Western Australian Planning Commission [2002] 122 LGERA 433 at [24], where Justice Barker held –

“The existence of a policy cannot replace the discretion of the decision-maker in the sense that it is to be inflexibly applied regardless of the merits of the particular case. However, the relevant consideration in many applications will be why the ‘policy’ should not be applied; why the planning principles that find expression in the ‘policy’ are not relevant to the particular application.”

During public question time, the President of the Fremantle Society, John Dowson, queried the appropriateness of the development particularly in respect to the request to negate the requirement to provide public art onsite in this context. He also drew attention to the background of the plans submitted in which can be seen a rendition of what the developer plans for part of the rest of the site – an 18 storey tower of apartments. Plans for these have already been lodged at SDAU. Mr Dowson observed high rise like this ‘would destroy the human scale and character’ of Fremantle.

Councillors expressed their sympathy for the proponents with respect to the cost and questioned whether they should be given greater say on where public art should be located, however it was noted that the requirement for a percent for public art is being applied “almost universally” across Perth now.

Cue a friendly spirited debate between councillors about what constitutes art, and the merits of art to Fremantle. Council ultimately decided to defer determination of this item to allow for further discussion about whether it would in fact be appropriate to let this one go.

A microbrewery? – C2405-3 Mather Road, No. 3 – 5 (Lot 251) And Part No. 7 (Lot 252) Beaconsfield – Partial Temporary Change Of Use To Brewery And Alterations And Additions To Existing Buildings (DA0008/24)

Council dealt with this item swiftly and elected to issue a conditional temporary five year approval for the proposed microbrewery as follows –

APPROVE, under the Metropolitan Region Scheme and Local Planning Scheme No. 4, the Partial Temporary Change of Use to Brewery and Alterations and Additions to Existing Buildings at No. 3-5 (Lot 251) and part No. 7 (Lot 252) Mather Road, Beaconsfield, subject to detailed conditions that can be found here.

The proponent for the proposed brewery appealed to the sympathy of councillors during public question time, advising that he considers there to be an undersupply of family-friendly venues and that this seeks to operate a microbrewery that will support local small business.

This proposal required Council approval on the basis of land use permissibility while the area is in a state of planning flux, and concerns raised regarding car parking and noise/noxious odours to nearby residents.

The site is simply zoned ‘Development’ given that it falls within the former Lefroy Road Quarry and the Heart of Beaconsfield Masterplan Area; it is envisaged eventually for future housing but at present is industrial in nature.

The Freo Alternative – Final Adoption – Scheme Amendment No. 87 To Local Planning Scheme No. 4 – The Freo Alternative Review

Is it ever untimely to talk about solutions to the housing crisis?

In 2014, the City began to explore how it could respond, under its own steam, to encourage smaller, community-oriented housing that prioritised tree canopy over car parking through the Freo Alternative initiative. Their efforts were aided by extensive research conducted by the Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC), the outcomes of which are publicly available for viewing in the Council meeting attachments.

In a planning environment that is increasingly being homogenised by the State Government and property developers, it was rather radical indeed. Just four dwellings have been delivered under Freo Alternative, which prompts the question whether we should persist or accept defeat?

Council voted in favour of the Officer recommendation to:

1. Note the submissions received on Amendment 87 to Local Planning Scheme No. 4 as detailed in Attachment 1.
2. Pursuant to Regulation 41 of the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015, resolve to support Amendment 87 to Local Planning Scheme No. 4 (Attachment 2) subject to modifications, as follows: a. delete 120m2 from 5.7.1 a) and insert “90m2 with a minimum bedroom dimension of 3.0 metres”.
3. Authorise the Mayor and the Chief Executive Officer to execute and affix the common seal of the City of Fremantle to the scheme amendment documentation and submit the amendment to the Western Australian Planning Commission with a request for the endorsement by the Minister for Planning.

The scheme provisions are supported by Local Planning Policy 3.20 – Special Control Area Provisions for Small Infill Development (LPP 3.20), which guides development via the Freo Alternative way within designated parts of the City (SCA 5.7). It’s reasonable to ask whether these provisions are still necessary now that we finally have the so-called “Medium Density Codes” (the State Government no longer refers to them that way, interestingly) in the updated Parts B, C, and temporarily D, in the Residential Design Codes Volume 1.

The short answer is yes, as those codes don’t cater towards the same density codes as those in SCA 5.7. Also, the Freo Alternative goes further to encourage smaller dwellings in low-density suburbia without encouraging increased subdivision.

The dwellings that have eventuated from the Freo Alternative are –

11 Smith Street, Beaconsfield – DA0464/19 – Two three-bedroom, two bathroom two storey dwellings behind an existing dwelling – Constructed and subdivided
5 Montgomery Street, Beaconsfield – DA0406/19 – Four three-bedroom, two-bathroom two storey dwellings – Constructed
148 Lefroy Road, Beaconsfield – DA0334/20 – Three two-bedroom plus additional bedroom / study, two-bathroom two storey dwellings behind an existing dwelling – Under construction
32 Smith Street, Beaconsfield – DA0193/22 – Two three-bedroom, two bathroom two storey dwellings behind an existing dwelling – As yet unconstructed
[insert photographs of the three completed and under construction dwellings]

The limited uptake has been attributed to –
• Cost and time
• Limited available vacant lots
• Uncertainty due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

The City advertised the scheme amendment during 1 December 2023 to 24 February 2024 (85 days), extended from the standard timeframe due to the festive period. Owners (and occupiers) were notified via letter drop within 250m radiuses within and around SCA 5.7, and letters were also sent to those who had made a submission on the original scheme amendment and policy.

21 submissions supported extension of the Freo Alternative, 12 opposed, and 3 were neutral.
Feedback received advised of their doubts about the efficacy of the scheme amendment over the past five years, or the merit of extending it further without clear targets. It was noted that-
“only three-bedroom and two-bathroom dwellings have been constructed, which have not demonstrated any affordability benefits and have resulted in the removal of mature trees.”

Some opposition, including from the Department of Education, also raised concern about increased infill development and its impact upon established neighbourhoods and the capacity of local schools.

On a side note, the City originally proposed the scheme amendment without a sunset clause but was, against its wishes, ultimately overruled by the Western Australian Planning Commission on the basis that the sunset clause was applied as it had previously been implemented in 2011 on another amendment that varied the Residential Design Codes.

It was also considered that there was an “absence of broader strategic planning for the City”. A little harsh but it’s true the City’s Local Planning Strategy (adopted in 2001) is a bit long in the tooth now. Hopefully the new one, submitted to the WAPC for approval in 2022, isn’t far away.

Time will tell.

Old Hagen Court and environs – Preparation Of Amendment No. 76 To Local Planning Scheme No. 4 – Lot 1488, 103 Carrington Street, Lots 1, 2, And 3, 396 High Street, Lot 1483, 386 High Street, Lot 51, 167 Holland Street, Lot 252, 169 Holland Street, And Lots 1-4 On Strata Plan 65266, 171 Holland Street, Fremantle

My my. This land has been sitting empty for quite a while ever since the social housing blocks were demolished without replacement plans.

The area also looked very different at the time, which was before the High Street upgrade, which saw the construction of a giant roundabout and two underpasses on the junction of High Street and Stirling Street, as well as the removal of about 40 tuart trees.

One felt very close to traffic on High Street before the noise walls went up, especially if you were trying to access this site. In fact, you couldn’t, the footpath stopped and was grade-separated from the rest of this part of High Street so if you wanted to reach the flats then you’d either have to go the long way around or try and cross High Street to the golf course and back. A perilous task in peak hour traffic.

I recall there was a Curtin University design competition for new housing to go there but it never eventuated into anything real.

Council voted in favour of the Officer recommendation that:

1. Council, pursuant to section 75 of the Planning and Development Act 2005, resolve to prepare an amendment to City of Fremantle Local Planning Scheme No. 4, subject to the modifications detailed in Attachment 2 and clause f below, to:
a. Amend the density coding of Lot 1488, 103 Carrington Street, Lots 1, 2, and 3, 396 High Street, Lot 1483, 386 High Street, Lot 51, 167 Holland Street, Lot 252, 169 Holland Street, and Lots 1-4 on Strata Plan 65266, 171 Holland Street, Fremantle from R30 to R160.
b. Amend clause 6.2, schedule 2 – Additional Uses by allowing the consideration of Consulting Rooms, Office, and Restaurant/Café uses on 396 High Street, Fremantle.
c. Amend clause 6.7, schedule 7 – Local Planning areas (Development Requirements) by inserting a new Sub Area 6 including development and built form controls pertaining to building height, tree retention, noise mitigation, and pedestrian and vehicular access.
d. Delete Special Control Area 5.7 from Lot 1488, 103 Carrington Street, Lots 1, 2, and 3, 396 High Street, Lot 1483, 386 High Street, Lot 51, 167 Holland Street, Lot 252, 169 Holland Street, and Lots 1-4 on Strata Plan 65266, 171 Holland Street, Fremantle.
e. Amend the Scheme Map accordingly;
f. Modification to increase the maximum building height permitted in Area 1 per Category C of the Residential Design Codes of WA.

2. Council consider the Amendment is complex under the provisions of the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 for the following reason(s): a. The amendment is not addressed by the Fremantle Local Planning Strategy b. The amendment relates to development that is of a scale, or will have an impact, that is significant relative to development in the locality.

3. Council, pursuant to section 83A of the Planning and Development Act 2005, resolve to submit the proposed local planning scheme amendment, as referred to in resolution 1 above, to the Minister for Planning seeking approval to advertise that amendment.

The amendment report also advises of the intent to deliver 1,600m2 of internal private open space that retains all mature eucalypt trees and links to Holland Park, whilst also providing housing for vulnerable residents:

‘… it is proposed Lots 1, 2 and 3 provide enduring rental accommodation for the single parent, student, NDIS participants and lower socio-economic resident cohort to address the housing shortage. An endeavour of this cohort mix is to enable a relationship to develop between students and NDIS participants as supported by allied health services.’

Fingers crossed this proposal to update the scheme encourages something to happen at last on the ground! A new café or restaurant, office, and allied health services could be handy for locals who don’t want to make the trek into the West End.

Pretty Expensive at This Rate… C2405-9 Advertising Of The Proposed Differential Rate For The 2024/25 Financial Year

There’s a long shopping list of things we need in the City and they certainly add up. Such as the eye-watering repairs at Fremantle Leisure Centre, sand nourishment at Port Beach, and maintenance of iconic places like Fremantle Markets and Fremantle Arts Centre.

The Mayor commented that with growing costs and the responsibility of maintaining heritage assets, anyone who thinks that the City can afford all this without increasing rates is “living in a fantasy world”.

Residents of South Fremantle especially will notice the pinch in order to fund the underground power project.

Council ultimately voted to:

1. Endorse the proposed 2024/25 differential rate categories, rate in the dollar and minimum payment as outlined below and detailed in the Objects and Reasons for differential rates, provided in Attachment 1.

2. Approve the advertising of the 2024/25 differential rate categories, rate in the dollar and minimum payment as outlined in part 1.

3. Approve the advertising of the proposed service charges for the South Fremantle Targeted Underground Power Project as outlined below.

Here’s the mandatory pie chart –

Thanks for tuning in, once again, folks! See you next time.

Report by Gayle O’Leary


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