Neighbours moved to protest

09. 8NEWS

• Former councillor Valerie Cousins signed up for a Move apartment based on Match’s prospectus, but claims the reality is a different kettle of fish. Photo by Steve Grant

A CONFRONTING new addition to their neighbourhood has residents in the swanky South Beach estate up in arms.

They’re so unhappy with developer Match’s Move apartments 20 of them  hauled in Cockburn mayor Logan Howlett and council staff recently to demand answers on how the industrial-feel apartments got approved.

Paul and Ronnie Wilson live directly across the road from the development which straddles Breaksea Drive and Rollinson Road. They’ve just planted more trees out the front of their place to block Move from their view, describing it as having a “Homeswest aesthetic”.

“Is this the precedent level for future North Coogee?”

“Everyone fired questions at the mayor,” Mr Wilson said of the fiery meeting.

“They wanted to know, ‘is this the precedent level for future North Coogee?’”

The group’s biggest gripe is the amount of brown brick facing them. They claim their own homes had to have about 80 per cent render under estate guidelines, but Move has less than 50 per cent.

But Match’s managing director Lloyd Clark has defended the “specialised brickwork”, saying the product had won the ‘Think Brick’ award for sustainability and innovation.

“[Move] is designed by architects CODA to reflect Fremantle’s post-industrial era.

“During construction we have fielded positive comments, including reference that this approach is being seen a lot in Europe and it’s good to see WA moving out of the ‘cookie-cutter’ environment.

Mr Clark agrees the design is a “little different” and says its not uncommon for people to react when confronted by something so far from their usual aesthetic, but cautions that the development’s still four weeks from completion.

“We do believe … the building will be accepted an asset to the area—both socially and asceticaly,” he said, noting demand was so strong for the apartments there was a waiting list of potential tenants.

But not all future tenants are that thrilled either.

Former Fremantle councillor Valerie Cousins is threatening a class action because she doesn’t feel the finished product lives up to what she signed up for after reading the prospectus.

Decorative lintels around windows have disappeared, the concrete edges of balconies have been left so rough she fears the tiles will lift after a winter or two, decorative brickwork and steel frames seem topsy-turvy, and she even reckons the brickwork’s a bit too uneven.

Girders which she’d been hoping would be stainless steel she describes as “scaffolding quality” and none of concrete balcony roofs are rendered.

She said she’d been trying to get the company to apply a bit more render and paintwork to the exterior, but they wouldn’t budge.

At January’s meetings, locals also complained about the lack of parking at Move, and in the area generally, and said they had to wait up to 10 minutes some days to get onto Cockburn Road because the traffic was wall-to-wall.


25 responses to “Neighbours moved to protest

    • I am in the white pages if you want to contact me about MOVE actions. Val Cousins

      • Hi Val – May I join you on your quest please – hopefully I have looked up the correct V Cousins in the Whitepages & left you a message 🙂 Kind thanks 🙂

  1. Attention Steve Grant
    Would you mind passing on my details to Valerie Cousins in the MOVE North Coogee complex, Breaksea Drive that you have recently written an article on in the Herald?

    Hello Valerie;
    My name is Sharon Blake and I am purchasing apartment #32 on Rollinson Rd.
    As a group we can withhold payment until he specifications match the specs and the quality approved by us, the purchasers.
    At this point Match have no monies until the units are completed. We are extremely powerful at this moment.
    My number; 0424 951 670. (Sitting in a friend’s granny flat because the time-line has blown out to now almost a year!!
    Regards, Sharon Blake.

  2. I certainly hope that the purchases use their power in withholding their monies. This really is such an ugly development that even visitors to the estate cannot help but comment that it looks like a prison is being built. It is hard to believe how it could have been ‘designed’ and then approved.

    • The City of Fremantle, its planning officers and the council/planning committee ultimately approved it. Its obviously another case of the council climbing over themselves to “activate” Fremantle. Exceptional design?

      Its this kind of rush to promote and develop that has caused and allow this development to go though. They are about to let their friend build what could be described as a set of donga’s in Samson, and rent it out as dos-houses.

      I’m sorry for the people who have bought into this development with all the right intentions and have otherwise been burned. Review your contract and get together as a group and confront the developer and make sure you get what you paid for.

  3. It is city of Cockburn not City of Fremantle. We are trying to enlist some support from them.

  4. Has there been any traction with getting Match to improve the look of these apartments? I noticed they are at practical completion however no one has moved in yet. I am building across the road and I am appalled that the apartments design was passed through the City of Cockburn, particularly when I was forced to comply with very strict design requirements. The Move apartments look more like cheaply built 70’s TAFE building than high end beach side appartments.

  5. I agree. So what is happening with this eye sore? It seems to be complete, can the Council knock back occupancy if it doesn’t ‘match’ (no pun intended) the approved plans?

  6. Im one of the owners and it at present is so very difficult to lease out or sell? Dont know if its just the builidng/or the market or both??? Very very dissapoined at the moment – left a bad taste I think with everyone who purchased…

    • Probably a little bit from column A and column B. The market is flat, but these apartments are hideous. I’ve not met a single resident of the estate that is happy with the apartments, or the sheer number of apartments being built.

  7. As a resident of the estate, I’m blown away that these designs were approved. The apartments look like they came out of Port Hedland circa 1970. We’ve had friends visit and they don’t believe us when we tell them that they are brand new.
    Mission brown – check.
    Ugly security screens – check.
    Plenty of ‘for lease signs’ – check.

    We had to jump through hoops to get our design approved, these apartments have very much bought down the entire aesthetic of the neighbourhood. I’m opposed to any more apartment blocks full stop, our property will front a 4 story apartment block, of which when we purchased the block, was told it would be town houses. We don’t have enough parking as it stands.

  8. Just wondering where everything is at regarding these complaints? These apartments definitely bring down the feel of the area – is there a strata? We have residents leaving crap out on their balconies and making a general mess. It’s an absolute disgrace.

    • Hi Jono
      I don’t think anything will happen with these revolting apartments. The Architects, the developer (Match) and especially the City of Cockburn should be held accountable for this complete eyesore.
      Sadly its probably a bit late now. It would have been great if the buyers held back their final payments until Match did something to improve the look of the building, even rendering it would improve it ten fold.
      It has certainly detracted the amenity of the area and impacted on our property prices on the vicinity.
      I’m hoping the strata body will do something about it now…

      • I think you’re probably right. I am on shoalwater St and I’m quite concerned about the apartments being built by match. I don’t want a repeat of what has already happened and secondly when we bought the block we were told that the vacant land would be town houses….

        The apartments really are destroying the neighbourhood, if they were a higher spec I’d probably be happier, but they ain’t so we will end up speculators / rentals / FIFO bogans. I’m really quite disappointed by it all.

      • Oh dear, too late, too bad!
        No point now grizzliing about these apartments. You were all asked to join forces at the beginning.
        I am one of the residents who paid a lot of money. We were told we had to pay or be sued. The council, Mayor, politicians, building boards all condoned it and said it was purely ascetics, and to pull our heads in.
        And we were TOO FEW.
        Now, just look and wonder. ..

      • I’m sorry to hear about that. It’s incredibly unfortunate that the council didn’t step up. Had I known about all of this earlier I’d have been more involved. Unfortunately I was completely unaware of the situation until we moved in in may.
        What is the finish like internally?

  9. I’m terribly sorry to hear that also Sharon. If I had have know about any push to improve the apartments I would have been involved, and still would if the opportunity arises.

  10. We drove round this area a couple of years ago and then yesterday. So ugly are these apartment blocks I was compelled to search on Google for “North Coogee ugly apartments” (I don’t live in the area, thank goodness and I’m so sorry for those who do now). We commented that they looked like the slum blocks you see on The Bill, etc. Just astounded. And the developer’s condescending remark that people don’t appreciate or understand it… They are plain ugly. Prince Charles’ remark about a “monstrous carbuncle” when referring to modern architecture springs to mind! Sorry again for those who are affected by these by having to live in the area or look at them.

    • I live diagonally opposite these apartments where the photo for this article was taken. I am concerned about the finish and the deterioration of the face brickwork and the standards that have not been met. I have been an Electrician for over 35 years and have never seen brick work with so many colour variations in the mortar and a colour so ugly. I have been talking to some of the residents there and it seems some are so disillusioned that they are considering moving out or selling up. I see a solution to the problem in rendering most of the brickwork but initially starting with the perimeter fencing. Rendering this first and painting it white will contrast better with the brown brick and be inexpensive as its at ground level.
      I am interested in setting up a group (if there is not already one) that can collect all the complaints and gather information about this project then act on that information to see what can be done, the cost involved and so on. I’ve heard a lot of apartments are still empty and for sale and that Match people say there are only a few left. I will get the data this week that shows how many are owned privately and how many Match still owns. Match are currently trying to attract investors for their South Terrace apartments offering 21% return on minimum $50,000 investment over 28 months so they wont like any bad press at this time. If you are interested you can contact me through this blog, through NABO or email : Cheers Alan

  11. ‘We do believe … the building will be accepted an asset to the area—both socially and asceticaly’

    Herald, any chance of a follow up report? I believe this statement to still be incorrect. Happy to offer a residents point of view on a number of things.

    • Sadly it is still an eyesore. Horrid brick in sets of different browns on the same wall and now the mortar is eroding in places. Paid a lot of money to be in an area where we are seen as interlopers!

      • Hi Sharon, I do sympathise with those who have bought Move or any of MATCH GROUP’s buildings to date. They are still up to their dirty tricks and worse down in West Perth.
        The problem with the Move apartments is, their value has dropped more dramatically due to their appearance and so the rents have also plummeted attracting anyone they can get to fill them. They will recover in time and quicker if they get a face lift soon.
        I would like to know if any of the maintenance issues have been addressed by Match or their builder? They seem to have left a trail of destruction behind them also in Port Coogee.
        It would be interesting to see if the Strata Management company have any answers. Perhaps the Herald could interview them?

      • I can understand your frustration. However the issue from the residents adjacent and in the estate is that we were blind sided by the council. We never expected so many apartments, as the stockland salesmen or plans never suggested apartments to this magnitude. So yeah, understand the frustration but there are residents who paid a significant amount of money to have a house and land (upwards of $2m) only to be surrounded by dodgy looking apartments, street parking issues and at times very dodgy residents of said apartments.

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