EVENTS promoter Sunset has lodged its development plans for a tavern, micro-brewery and and performance area on Arthur Head with Fremantle council.
The plans, developed by CODA architects, scale back the original concept after concerns were raised the company was encroaching too close to Bathers Beach. It will still be able to cater to 400 patrons (possibly to be expanded to 850 if council is satisfied it’s a good tenant) for the tavern, and up to 1500 for 12 ticketed concerts.
CODA says the development will be sensitive to the historic area, and will include a playground inspired by heritage themes.
In a letter to surrounding residents, the council revealed that Sunset are hoping to get concerts up and running as soon as October, using its catering arm Independent Events to apply for temporary liquor licenses. That has the inner city residents group fuming.
“It beggars belief that a developer can expect to rush through an extremely socially sensitive licensing proposal on the basis of its past record running one-off events in the city and without the discipline of a rigorous planning and disclosure process,” FICRA committee member Richard Mehan wrote to the Herald this week.
White Gum Valley co-convenor Mark Woodcock is also angry Fremantle council didn’t advertise the development application more widely. He says the council sent his precinct notice of an application for a minor development in North Fremantle that none of his members would be interested in, but didn’t bother with Sunset’s application despite the great interest the tavern had generated through the entire community.
He smells a rat, but the council’s flak catcher Jason Cunningham told the Herald the planning department had advised it was done in accordance to council policy and only surrounding landowners needed to be told.
Meanwhile, the existing J-Shed artists Greg James (sculptor), Jenny Dawson (ceramicist) and Peter Zuvela (photography) say the new plan means they won’t be able to get deliveries into their businesses because Sunset’s getting too close to their loading doors.
This was despite the company agreeing in a 2013 email—seen by the Herald—to alter the boundary to ensure more room out the front of their businesses.
Worse, says James, during big events he’ll have a queue of people directly in front of his studio door, which he says is unworkable.
Mr Cunningham says the council is “communicating with Mr James to clear up any confusion”.
The public comment period finishes August 28.