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“[Stripped] of its historical references, [it] shares its impersonal and generalist design with shopping…malls anywhere,” Sasha Ivanovich says.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